Getting Hybrid Bermudagrass And Kikuyugrass Rough To Stand Up

By Pat Gross, director, Southwest Region
June 26, 2013

(L) The long lateral stolons produced by kikuyugrass contributes to a wavy growth habit during the summer, especially in the rough. Note that green leaves are only present at the tip of the stolon, with brown leaves along the base. (R) Using a tractor mounted flex-tine harrow in the rough prior to mowing helps to dislodge the lateral stolons of hybrid bermudagrass and kikuyugrass. This produces a more uniform cut and helps to stimulate leaf growth along the stolon.

Like any grass, hybrid bermudagrass and kikuyugrass have their strengths and weaknesses. The strong lateral growth habit of hybrid bermudagrass and kikuyugrass is a great benefit that contributes to stronger recovery from divot and wear injury, but also causes wavy, bumpy surface conditions that can contribute to mower scalping. This is especially true at mowing heights above 1.5 inches.

Summer is a great time to promote a more upright growth habit on hybrid bermudagrass and kikuyugrass by using a flex-tine harrow to dislodge the lateral stolons. The combing action provided by the flex-tine harrow stands up the turf eliminating the bumpy surface conditions and allowing for a uniform cut. As a result, more leaf growth is stimulated along the stolon, which reduces the tendency for a scalped appearance during mowing operations.

Some courses are finding that use of the flex-tine harrow in the rough on a frequency of one to two times during the summer also improves winter playing conditions by promoting more leaf growth and eliminating the compressed matt of stolons below the turf canopy.

Source: Pat Gross  (

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

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 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 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,, 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

AmEx image

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

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

AmEx image