Going Bold And Natural May 6, 2016 By Steve Kammerer, regional director, Southeast Region

Converting the slope above this greenside bunker to drought-tolerant native grasses has reduced watering and trimming while preserving the stability of the slope.

As resources like labor and water become increasingly scarce and costly, many courses are looking to convert areas of rough to lower-maintenance grasses in an effort to more efficiently use their time and resources. With less labor available today, some golf courses are struggling to maintain large rough areas and ornamental beds in addition to priority turf areas like greens. Converting rough areas to lower-maintenance grasses not only helps reduce the use of water, fertilizer, and pesticides but also can help save on labor, one of the largest yearly expenditures in golf course maintenance.

When planning to convert rough areas to lower-maintenance grasses, the first step is identifying target areas. Prioritize places where golfers are least likely to go. Why spend significant time and resources on areas that are not in play? Studying the course layout and observing how golfers play the course will help identify potential target areas.

There are many growers vying to supply customers with native grasses. It is a good idea to consult with your local extension office for recommendations before making a final selection. Establishing lower-maintenance areas can enhance the look and feel of a golf course while allowing valuable resources to be focused on primary playing areas.


Southeast Region Agronomists:

Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service -

Steve Kammerer, regional director –

Patrick M O’Brien, agronomist –

Todd Lowe, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

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