Grass is just grass, or is it? Those of you with green fingers will already know domestic grass is entirely different from grass used on golf courses.
The green stuff, the grass, is the most overlooked feature in golf, but without decent grass, there would be no play. When golfers play from the fairway tee to the rough, most don’t think about what’s under their feet, but golf course owners do.
We have looked at all types of grass in-depth and considered the factors needed in a professional range. We discussed Bermuda and bentgrass, right through to poa annua, and dug deep to find out which grass is better for the best play on the green.
Bermuda Grass, No Golf Jacket Required
Bermuda grass is the primary type of golf course grass, and yes, Bermuda grass hails from Bermuda. Because of the tropical and subtropical climes, this grass is cultivated for use in warm weather, golf courses, and sports locations; because this grass does not need as much rain as others, it is considered a drought-resistant choice.
Bermuda grass can absorb heat, and while it will tolerate mild winters and some rainfall, it does not do well in low winter temperatures. To be clear, temperatures below freezing will kill it stone-dead.
Commercial varieties of the Bermuda grass include Tiffsport, Tiffequal, and Tiffwharf. At the same time, its scientific name is Cynodon dactylon, and the hybrid golf course name, Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis, which is the scientific mix. Bermuda grass is a quality product, or at least most think so.
Not everyone loves Bermuda grass as the blades are thicker than bent grass and have a grainier look and feel; some lawn enthusiasts call it wiregrass, couch grass, and even devil’s grass because once it’s taken hold, you can’t get rid of it.
Bentgrass – Agrostis
Agrostis (bent or bentgrass) bentgrass is highly durable and is the name given to various varieties of grass that come under the heading of bentgrass. Bentgrass is durable; it can withstand intensive play on the course without any real damage.
You can mow bentgrass very short, and its delicate texture allows it to stay a bright green color even in a drought. So adaptable is bentgrass that most northern hemisphere courses use some of the 50 varieties in their turf. Bent grass suits golf courses with cool summer conditions and even coastal locations like St Andrews in the UK and Fairbanks Golf Course in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Zoysia is a slow-growing grass with a thicker-than-average texture. Since it is very stiff, Zo can handle a lot of wear and is often used on tee boxes, fairways, and ruffs in high-traffic areas.
While there are many sub-species of bentgrass, there are eight main species of Zoysia. Also called species’ genus (a principal taxonomic category). Named after Austrian botanist and plant collector Karl von Zois, three of the species are common in the United States: Zoysia japonica Steud, Zoysia matrella, and Zoysia Pacifica.
Trinity Zoysia works well for sports fields. This dense grass stands up exceptionally well to wear and tear; you will find it on most professional golf courses in most countries worldwide.
Ryegrass is the most common golf course grass exclusively used for roughs and fairways. The grass is exceptionally hard-wearing and suits close and narrow mowing. Ryegrass has a smooth texture but prefers cool weather; however, ryegrass does not like extreme cold, and temperatures below zero will kill it.
The Latin scientific name is genus Lolium, the genus of between ten and twelve grass species in the Poaceae family. Several species are grown as forage and lawn grasses in European climates, and both perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass are essential constituents of golf course turf and lawn-seed mixtures used worldwide.
Depending on the species used (mainly perennials on golf courses). The tufts of ryegrass reach about 0.3 to 1 meter (1 to 3.3 feet) tall and have a fibrous texture and dark green color. The flowers grow in the angles on the flower stem, and the plants have extensive root systems, which are helpful for erosion control but not so helpful if you want to remove the grass.
Poa annua or Poaceae or Gramineae
Poa annua, annual bluegrass or annual meadow grass (known in America more commonly as poa), is a widespread low-growing turfgrass that thrives in temperate climates.
Golfers love excuses, and poa often serves as an Aunt Sally. Poa annua’s lousy rap has roots in reality. Poa is fast-growing; its seedheads can lead to bumpiness and uneven textures on the greens. Golf course horticulturists take extreme measures to ensure that the correct type of grass is used, and some consider poa a weed and would never use it.
Poa is suitable for light sandy, medium (loamy), and heavy clay well-drained soils. Poa annua is adaptable and can grow in very acidic soils. However, poa prefers to avoid shade and extremes like drought conditions; much like the golfers who play on it, poa is temperamental and doesn’t like too much rain.
Interesting Facts About Grass To Play Golf On
Grass is not just grass and golf courses; generally, don’t stick to one type of golf grass. Green experts often tailor their grass specifically for the golf course, considering the climate and even the altitude of the atmosphere.
Not everyone is so obsessed with doing the right thing as some courses paint their grass. Some golf courses use turf, colorants, or grass paint to touch up brown or dead grass areas, mainly if these areas appear in plain corridors.
Grass painting is an alternative to overseeding, allowing the grass to become dormant while maintaining an attractive green color – convinced? No, me neither!
A square foot of turf contains up to 200,001 blades of grass; I’m no mathematician, but a course like Pebble Beach Golf Links has greens of 3,500 square feet and will require 700,003,500 blades of grass to make sure there are no bald patches.
Golf course designers can increase or decrease the difficulty of a course by deciding how often and at what height the grass should be cut; some call this cheating, while others enjoy watching golfers hitting the chili and knocking their balls in the long grass.
20-year corporate professional that caught the golf bug in college thanks to a local muni that was free for students and haven’t looked back since. I’m a 9-handicap that can deliver birdies and double bogeys with equal flair. Long off the tee and a mess around the greens. Chasing down my golf bucket list one trip at a time and sharing insights at https://yourgolfspot.com