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bjwestner

Dramatic change in green speed....

6 posts in this topic

So the last few weeks has brought temperatures below freezing at night, almost every night.  This means that many times over the past few weeks the greens have been frozen.  Obviously this sucks for ball striking but that is understood.  What really shocked my friends and I was the dramatic change in green speed and not the way that we expected.

The greens at my club are very nice and well maintained bent grass.  There is just a small amount of zoiysa but you do not notice it at all if you play in the mornings (it only shows up in late afternoon).  The greens usually stimp at 11 or so.  We always play in the mornings on the weekend and even with morning dew on the greens, the speed is fast but consistent.  We expected that the frozen greens would increase the speed as the ground/grass was harder and also has no dew on them when they are frozen by the time we are allowed to play (after frost delay).

Strangely the speed of the greens decreased quite a bit while frozen.  This was not due to wind.  My friends and I cannot figure this out as we remember last year where the green speed increased if they were frozen/almost frozen, not a decrease in speed.  The decrease in speed seems to be on all holes and all kinds of putts (up and downhill).  It is a significant distance and since we play there all the time it takes adjusting too.  I know the easy answer is just to adjust to it and we will have to do that but I was just curious if anyone out there can answer why did the speed decrease when we thought and experienced an increase in speed last year under similar conditions?  The greens are the same and no other outside factors have changed from last years comparison.  The greens are maintained the same and cut the same as far as we can tell.  Thanks.

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In my area (SE Michigan) toward the tail end of the season (late October into November) the greens at first become a bit speedier as they are no longer irrigated and the wind dries them out.  Eventually, the courses stop cutting the grass and the greens become almost hairy; speeds really slow down.

As you indicated, your greens are still being cut the same length and frequency so there must be another reason for the slowdown.  Perhaps the dew (or thawed out frost) isn't evaporating as quickly and there is residual moisture on the green surfaces.

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It's just part of offseason golf and I assume why areas with inclement weather don't track scores for handicap. I played Thanksgiving morning, first time of the day, and the greens were actually frozen. Couldn't get a repair tool in them until the back 9. If made for an odd mix. Couldn't stop an approach shot, I actually lost 4 balls on the front that bounced hard and bounded into unmaintained long grass not usually in play. But because of the thin layer of moisture they were slow to putt on. By the time I made the turn conditions were different. As soon as we get significant snow each hole with play different and it will change as the weather changes.

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In my area (SE Michigan) toward the tail end of the season (late October into November) the greens at first become a bit speedier as they are no longer irrigated and the wind dries them out.  Eventually, the courses stop cutting the grass and the greens become almost hairy; speeds really slow down.

As you indicated, your greens are still being cut the same length and frequency so there must be another reason for the slowdown.  Perhaps the dew (or thawed out frost) isn't evaporating as quickly and there is residual moisture on the green surfaces.

Actually when we usually play (weekend mornings), there is almost always morning dew on the greens and they still are quick and stimp around 11 give or take.  With the greens being frozen recently, there has been no moisture at all or less than the usual dew.  It seems like almost backwards logic which is why I asked the question because if anything they should be faster?

I'm wondering after reading your post if they are slower because they are dry (although the opposite would seem to be true), but maybe the lack of moisture combined with them being frozen some how increases friction on the ball leading to slower speed where as the unfrozen temps and the water somehow decrease ball friction with the ground?  Kind of like how the dimples of a ball improve ball flight by reducing friction with the ball, maybe frozen/dry blades of bent grass somehow increases friction?

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The speeds at my local course picked up a good bit in the last few weeks.  A guy I was playing with said it was because the summer heat here in Georgia prohibits them from cutting them very short, but now that it is cooler, they can cut them lower.

He didn't seem like a horticulturist or anything, but it made sense at the time.

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The speeds at my local course picked up a good bit in the last few weeks.  A guy I was playing with said it was because the summer heat here in Georgia prohibits them from cutting them very short, but now that it is cooler, they can cut them lower.   He didn't seem like a horticulturist or anything, but it made sense at the time.

Yup.....down here too. Even with the winter rye overseed, they're GREAT!

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