Golf courses are huge plots of turf and land, and one can imagine how long mowing it might take. Do golf clubs even bother to mow their courses?
If the golf courses are not mowed, then how do clubs maintain the grass height? Do they use chemicals?
In this article, we will explain to you exactly the reasons whether golf courses are mowed, as well as how the quality and height of grass is maintained.
Are Golf Courses Mowed?
Yes, golf courses are mowed using mowers and rollers. The frequency of golf course grass maintenance is typically 5 to 7 times a week for active golf courses. The rough on a golf course is mowed much less frequently than intended playing surfaces such as the putting green and the fairway.
Yes, golf courses are frequently mowed in order to maintain the turf height and grass health. In addition to being mowed, golf courses are also rolled using machines known as rollers.
These rollers are machines that flatten the short, mowed blades of grass, encouraging them to grow vertically. A short, vertically-growing turf is good for golf performance because it means the ball will meet the same friction resistance no matter the direction it travels in.
Depending on the possibility due to geographical location, golf courses try to use a special strain of grass that is thick and grows upwards. One of these special types of grass is called bent grass, but it cannot grow everywhere in the world.
Different types of grass need to be mowed differently for optimal results.
Mowing the turf on a golf course allows for control of grass blade height, better golf speed on turf, and finally, gives the turf the best aesthetic possible. If you have been on a well-maintained golf course before, you know that putting green grass is a work of art.
Generally, the more you mowing and rolling a golf course is treated to, the better the turf quality and golf ball performance. However, there are situations in which the former is not true.
For example, if the grass is in a bad condition (e.g. dry, withering, etc.), then mowing is avoided. The golf course maintenance staff will instead let the grass grow back healthy.
You have probably seen some closed-off sections on a golf course before; many of these are to give damaged grass a chance to restore itself.
Bad turf condition can result from many factors, such as extreme temperatures, both warm and cold, pest infestation, heavy golf carts on the turf, and more.
When Is A Golf Course Mowed?
A golf course is generally mowed in the afternoon rather than in the morning to do the interference of morning dew that wets the turf. A golf course is typically mowed 5 to 7 times a week in well-maintained golf clubs.
An interesting point to mention is that mowing in the afternoon is often preferred instead of in the morning, even though that may impede on the play of golfers. Why is it better to mow in the afternoon?
In the morning, the grass experiences morning dew, meaning it produces water droplets that make it wet. A wet grass is not ideal for mowing for many reasons, including the fact that wet grass sticks together, which can clog up lawn mowers.
Wet grass is also more of a pain than dry grass to empty from lawn mower receptacles. Over the course of mowing an entire golf course, there is a lot of lawn mower receptacle emptying to do. In the afternoon, the grass generally has had time to dry, making it more pleasant and efficient to mow.
Sometimes, golf courses are also mowed during play, while golfers are using the holes. If at the beginning of a timeslot, there may be mowers starting from the final holes and moving their way up to eventually meet the golfers.
These mowers that are active while players play simply get out of the way when they see you, as they are human operated. You might feel like they are following you like sharks, mowing behind you, but they simply do not want to get hit by your balls.
If you see a lawn mower operator driving in your shooting line, make sure to alert him with wide gestures, as many operators wear noise-cancelling earmuffs to protect their ears from the rumbling of the lawn mower engine.
Since golf courses are often mowed 5-7 times a week, it is common to find lawn mowers in operation while players are on the turf. Note that the rough sections of a golf course are mowed less often, as they are not as critical to play as intended playing surfaces.
What Equipment Is Used To Mow A Golf Course?
Both special lawn mowers and turf rollers are used to mow and maintain the turf on a golf course. Golf clubs often own multiple tens of mowers and rollers. Golf course mowers and rollers can each cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to 70,000$. Needless to say, the equipment required to mow a golf course is expensive.
To mow and maintain the turf on a golf course, 2 main categories of equipment are used: lawn mowers and lawn rollers.
Lawn mowers simply cut the grass to the desired vertical height. On the other hand, lawn rollers compress the turf to flatten it and promote vertical grass growth rather than diagonal.
The vertical grass growth is desirable as it induces the same friction forces against the golf ball no matters its direction of travel.
Among lawn mowers and rollers, there are many different subtypes.
For example, some lawn mowers feature grass cutters in the front of the vehicle, while some have their grass cutters dragged behind the vehicle. Some lawn mowers are not vehicles at all, pushed integrally by a human, but these are more suitable for small areas like the putting green.
Lawn mowers for golf courses vary widely in terms of how big they are. For example, a fairway lawn mower is a big lawn mower that needs to cut a wide surface quickly, so it possesses a relatively powerful engine.
These fairway lawn mowers are so big and powerful that operators require a seat belt in order to not be ejected and risk getting shredded by the lawn mowers.
There also exist new, state-of-the-art lawn mowers that are semi-autonomous, relying on GPS technology and human control from a distance to cut the turf without breaking a sweat.
As artificial intelligence develops itself further, you will one day see golf course lawn mowers that are completely unmanned. However, as of now, letting big lawn mowers with sharp shredders run loose without human supervision near vulnerable golfers is not feasible nor a good idea.
The lawn mowers and lawn rollers used by golf courses to cut and maintain the turf can be very expensive. Each mower and roller can cost from a few hundred dollars, up to 70,000$ per piece (e.g. for a big premium fairway mower).
In terms of the speed of the golf course mowing process, it may seem obvious to you that the more staff and the more equipment you use, the faster you can mow a golf course. Unfortunately, more speed comes with extra costs.
Over the course of a year, a golf course can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars per year in mowing-related costs, to pay staff and new equipment. It is frequent for golf clubs to expend 50,000$ a year for turf maintenance.
There you go! After reading his article, you have discovered the reasons whether golf courses are mowed. You have also learned the methods used to control the length and quality of turf, as well as the types of equipment used.
How long do you think it would take you to mow an entire golf course alone? Could you do it in one day? Let us know in the comments down below!