Article and Video Discussion with the BoD on Fairway Mowing Height and Mower Calibration
On Thursday, July 27th, WBVGC Staff and the Board of Directors held a discussion/demonstration in regards to our fairway mowing height and how the height is measured/set. We recorded the discussion and you may find the video above.
We currently mow our fairways at 9/16" and have to keep them low during the transition from winter grass to the summer bermuda grass in order to promote the bermuda grass growth. During the discussion, it was identified that members would like more grass under the ball for the ball to sit up. While fairway height can contribute to the ball sitting up on top of the grass, the density of the grass is the major contributor to a ball sitting on top of the grass. We have an older type of Bermuda grass "Common Bermuda" that is not as dense as a newer hybrid Bermuda such as "Tifway 419" or "TiffTuf". It was decided that since we are now in the humid season, for a trial comparison, we would raise the height at our Vistas course to 11/16" and keep our typical height of 9/16" at the Lakes course. We can do this as long as the test height does not compromise the health of the turf. The Board of Directors would like to hear your feedback on the increased height of the fairways at the Vistas GC, you may message the board at email@example.com.
According to the USGA, "normal" fairway height is anywhere between 3/8 of an inch to 9/16 of an inch. There are many grass species and they all perform differently. The theory by some that “grass is grass” could not be further from the truth. The time of year is also an extreme factor into determining the height we cut our grass.
A device called a Prism Grass Gauge is used by turfgrass professionals. It is also used by the USGA, PGA Tournament Officials, the Golf Course Superintendent Association, and golf course equipment manufacturers.
With the humidity much higher than it’s been in years, we are seeing an unusual amount of turf growth at both golf courses. With the exception of a few spots on some fairways the courses are very green and healthy. With that being said, we are still asked why the transition from rye grass to Bermuda grass is taking so long to complete and why the golf lie is still not what it should be. The common answer to these questions is simple, we have Common Bermuda in the fairways. Common Bermuda is one of the oldest generation of Bermuda grass there is. Many older courses that can afford/accommodate to do so, have begun moving away from Common Bermuda because of its undesirable playing surface and poor growth habit. They are renovating their fairways and adopting some of the hybrid Bermuda grasses like Tifway 419 and TifTuf. These newer strains of Bermuda grasses have a darker green color, a finer leaf, a denser canopy, and require less water to transition than Common Bermuda. In addition, the newest variety, TifTuf, has been seen to stay green and awake a month longer into the winter and come out of dormancy a month earlier in the spring. These future hybrids could reduce the need for overseeding. Golfers love the lie they get on the hybrids and these grasses transition faster than Common Bermuda and are much denser, which helps to hold the ball up off the ground.
The reason we share this information is so members are aware that Common Bermuda cannot perform like the new hybrids due to its genetics. In the meantime we will continue to work hard to optimize what we have.
Thank you for being a member of the Club and we hope you enjoyed the article and video.