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Golf Course Soil Type / Composition - What is your preference?

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Golf Course Turf and Soil Type - Your Preference?  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. What suits your game better?

    • Bent Grass with dirt soil base; soft and lush
      5
    • Bermuda Grass with sand base; hard and fast
      3
    • Other? Explain
      4


15 posts / 3903 viewsLast Reply

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Up north (Ohio here) most decent courses feature bent grass fairways and greens, dirt soil below, soft and a bit on the wet side is what you can expect.  The kind of fairway that sets up for carving out a nice 10" long pelt of turf.  Balls stop nicely on bent-grass greens greens.

The flip side of that is playing down south where soil is sand-based, bermuda (or its variations) grass and nice firm fairways that lets you to really go after a ball without fear of a mud bath or that 10" pelt of land being ripped from the earth.

I live up north but PREFER playing on the harder conditions of sand-based soil. The hollow 'thump' of an iron or wood off the fairway is a pleasing sound to me.  Just seem to hit it more solidly off firm conditions.

Which do you prefer?

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Anything but that Bermuda grass. I just played two rounds in Florida on that garbage and I can't figure it out. No idea what to do on a pitch with that stuff.

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More of a problem for exacting pros that expect specific results for approach shots and getting up and down. I don't strike the ball well enough to worry about it I just want the courses to be in good condition during peak golf season.

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Bent grass greens. Fescue and bent grass fairways. Fescue rough. Putts roll true, and nice lies in the fairway. 

Poa annua greens at most courses in the area are like mystery meat. Difficult to read and you never know what's going to happen.

 

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Here in northern Virginia, we play mostly on bent greens and fairways over natural soil, although usually modern greens have been built on a foot or more  of sand base.  In the Pinehurst area, its primarily a sand base, with a variety of grass types.  Some courses with bent greens struggle in the heat of the summer, but the bermuda grasses stay dormant for a big part of the year-   I prefer a quick-draining subsoil, so I like the Carolina sandhills area, although I struggle with healthy growing Bermuda rough.  Even better are the really firm links courses I've played in Scotland and Ireland.  Its a completely different type of game at times.

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I like any surface that has fairways that are divot friendley. Not that I take deep divots, but on some occasions they would come in handy. I play on some pretty firm fairways out here, that have a sandy/gravel base. It's can be tough squeezing a ball off those conditions. Especially if they are dry. When they re-seed out here some of these courses are like playing off hard pan. Makes for lenthy drives however,  which is a good thing. 

Greens, I just like them to be well maintained, with no bare spots. 

I am not any kind of grass expert as to what kind I might be playing on at any given time. I do know some play easier than others. There is a course near Ft Worth that kicks my back side everytime I play there. I have no idea what type of grass that is. 

I am fortunate that right now I have what some might consider a low end, home course, because the green fees are more than fair. The grass conditions of the course matches up quite well with any of the more expensive, high end courses in the area. 

Edited by Patch

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Bent grass fairways are the best, especially when they are firm.  Other grasses (Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, etc...) are fine, too.  Certainly sand and/or sandy loam soil aids drainage and thus the firmness of the ground.  It is fun to hit a well struck drive and watch it bounding down the fairway.  Not so much fun as a shorter hitter to see your drive hit and hop a foot or two. 

The absolute toughest rough for me is long Bermuda rough.  Not only is it hard to find your ball, but then hitting anything more than a sand wedge is a real challenge.

I am not a big fan of older versions of Bermuda on greens, very grainy, often slow.  I have played on some recent variations of Bermuda that better eliminate grain and are quite speedy.

 

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22 hours ago, colin007 said:

Anything but that Bermuda grass. I just played two rounds in Florida on that garbage and I can't figure it out. No idea what to do on a pitch with that stuff.

I feel the same way. I don't play bermuda except on vacation so I agree they can wreak havoc with my short game!

20 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

Bent grass greens. Fescue and bent grass fairways. Fescue rough. Putts roll true, and nice lies in the fairway. 

Poa annua greens at most courses in the area are like mystery meat. Difficult to read and you never know what's going to happen.

 

It was fun watching the pros play out west here on poa annua! I grew up on the stuff and I am used to changing at the end of the day as the bloom happens. Poa free greens are just too easy ;-) Although I do love a good FAST green with no mystery to it!!

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I grew up in western NY so I believe it is bent grass.  I like those fairways.  Greens seem to putt more true than here in Florida.

I've lived the past 35 years in Florida so I'm familiar with Bermuda.  Thick / lush Bermuda rough is like hell.  Thinner Bermuda rough is not nearly as much of a problem.  I like well maintained Florida greens.

I prefer the playing conditions in the north.  Ball sits up nicely on the fairways.  Greens are receptive.

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9 hours ago, ev780 said:

I feel the same way. I don't play bermuda except on vacation so I agree they can wreak havoc with my short game!

It was fun watching the pros play out west here on poa annua! I grew up on the stuff and I am used to changing at the end of the day as the bloom happens. Poa free greens are just too easy ;-) Although I do love a good FAST green with no mystery to it!!

Putting on broccoli. From Aimpoint.

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I grew up on Bermuda in south Texas and played a ton of my adult years on NE and mid-Atlantic grass.  Both have their pros and cons; both can give you fits if you're used to the other kind.

The only kind of grass/soil I don't like is the crap they have in Hawaii.  Hard, volcanic soil with incredibly dense grass.  The first time I took a divot at Turtle Bay I thought I was going to need to x-ray my wrist.  The greens are the worst of both worlds:  very firm without being fast and smooth.

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I played what I was told was Bermuda when I played in North Carolina on vacation. It was very fast but the course was generally beautiful. I'm not good enough to stress about grass type outside of worrying about tall fescue that can hide golf balls. 

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Good enough to support healthy turf would be my answer. I have held the job title of soil scientist. With irrigation, fertilization and management many different types of soils can be used for golf courses.  I prefer bent grass, but that is just what I am used to. Rye grass over seeding in the winter looks nice, but can be hard to putt on and lightning fast.

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