Green Speed Issues And Annual Bluegrass Weevils

By Adam Moeller, Agronomist
June 10, 2010

Collar damage is common when greens rolling is performed frequently during saturated conditions.

Green Speed Issues

An early taste of summer brought about humid conditions that caused many golfers to complain about slower green speeds. Higher humidity and slower putting speeds go hand-in-hand in the summer, and are usually most noticeable after a few weeks of dry conditions. Another common issue is putting green consistency, or lack thereof. Consistent playability on putting greens from one day to the next is impossible due to fluctuations in weather patterns. Poorly-draining, native soil greens with a mixed stand of Poa annua/creeping bentgrass will have inconsistent green speeds and firmness from time to time. Even well-built, sand-based greens with a pure stand of creeping bentgrass will vary in playability at times.

Many courses identify a target green speed, plus or minus one foot, when measured with a Stimpmeter. Dr. Tom Nikolai, Michigan State University, has thoroughly researched putting green speed under contemporary management practices. He has found that, on average, superintendents hit their target green speed approximately 70% of the time. Weather and necessary cultural practices (e.g. core aeration) negatively impact green speed the remainder of the time. From my perspective, those who complain about consistency are suggesting that hitting the 70% mark isn’t acceptable. However, I doubt that many of these players have a problem with the green speed being more than one foot faster than the target; it’s the slow end that causes complaints.

Green speed issues will never be resolved. The consequences of managing for green speeds too aggressively, unfortunately, also are not going away. Under saturated or hot and humid conditions, pushing the turf with extra mowing/rolling, limited moisture and fertilizer, and lowering the height of cut, all have been used to reach the desired target. The price paid for pushing for green speed during tough conditions, however, is never worth the short-lived benefit. Golf is a game played in the elements, on living plants that can be manipulated and managed, but not completely controlled. Consistent and fast green speeds throughout the entire season are not possible, and forcing the issue can be disastrous.

Annual Bluegrass Weevil

Annual bluegrass weevil activity continues to be of concern for golf courses throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Damage, although not severe, has been observed as far north as Toronto. Golf courses throughout the New Jersey, New York, and New England states also have seen varying degrees of damage. The early warm weather in March likely caused variations in egg laying, which means damage could be more prolonged over the next few weeks. Rain and wet conditions often can mask the damage, making scouting even more important when trying to control this insect pest.

Turf Advisory Service Visit

USGA agronomists can provide insightful and vital information about all areas of golf course maintenance to help maximize turf health, playability, and efficiency. Contact Dave Oatis, director, doatis@usga.org; Adam Moeller, agronomist, amoeller@usga.org; or Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist jskorulski@usga.org for a Turf Advisory Service visit this season.

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image