There are a lot of elements that are essential to a game of golf: the right club, the right conditions, the right wind, and so on. An aspect you may not think of, though, is the grass itself.
There are lots of different types of grass that can be used on a golf course, and all of them have their own benefits and qualities. But what are they?
Well, we’ve got the information for you! Below, you’ll find an entire breakdown of the various types of grass that are commonly used on golf courses, as well as the qualities that each one can bring to the game and its players.
Many of these types of lawn are available for purchase to anyone, so if you fancy having a putt at home and want it to be authentically like a golf course, you can even recreate the experience!
Types Of Grass Used On Golf Courses
The type of grass that a club has laid down on its course plays a big part in the quality of the game itself. Some grasses need to be thick and dense for the rough areas, while others need to be smooth for big swings.
Clubs employ experts to put down the best grasses for them, and as such, there are a whole bunch of different grasses that have become popular among golf clubs.
Ryegrass, also known as lolium, commonly grows in bunches and has a very relaxing deep green color to it.
The grass is popular for its smooth texture, which makes it perfect for nestling golf balls softly when they land. The smoothness also helps the golf clubs to swing through it without too much push back, which is why ryegrass is commonly used on fairways.
However, it is also used in the rough, perhaps because of the fact that it grows in nice and thick bunches.
However, the grass will not flourish in cold environments. This isn’t a problem for many states across America, but it poses a problem for others. If the temperature hits freezing, the grass will completely die, and you’ll need to replace it – which comes at a cost.
Another downside to ryegrass is that it does not spread by itself. Grasses that do this are able to because of their stolon or rhizome roots, which help to allow the spread across the ground and even repair itself when weak or damaged.
Since ryegrass doesn’t do this, you’ll need to repeatedly keep it going, buying new seeds and having them planted regularly.
Bentgrass, also known by its more scientific name “agrostis”, is found all over the world – making it a popular, common choice for golf courses.
This type of grass is well known for its thin blades, and it usually grows in concentrated tufts. The thinness of the blades means that the grass can be closely mowed, which allows it a razor sharp precision and smoothness.
This will be perfect for golfing, offering a beautifully soft ground for the swing to lift a ball from. It also grows very in very thick groupings, which can be especially good for a rough.
A downside to bentgrass, though, is that it doesn’t survive very well in frequently hot places. This can be a lot of parts of America, for example, but the states that are cooler will be good hosts to bentgrass courses.
That being said, despite bentgrass’ failings with heat, it doesn’t actually need a lot of rainfall or watering to keep alive and vibrant. This will save you some time and effort.
Also called annual bluegrass, you may have heard of this type of grass – but not on good terms. Poa annua is popularly known as more of a threat, an invasive breed of grass that pops up and spreads without you asking it to.
Many people like to get rid of it when they find it invading their gardens, controlling its spread with herbicides and stopping its seeds from sprouting.
The type of grass can differ in loads of different ways. Sometimes the blades are long, sometimes they’re short. Sometimes the blades are thick, and sometimes they’re thin! It completely depends on the bio of the turf, and as such, you can get poa annua that varies a lot.
Despite this, though, it’s quite popular on golf courses! These are typically alongside the West Coast of America, in places like Los Angeles and San Diego. A lot of players consider the grass to be annoying, thinking that it’s bumpy.
However, if it’s tended to properly, it can be smoothed out. That said, it’ll be a lot of work to upkeep. Continuing to that fact, it also needs a lot of watering, as well as a lot of chemicals being added to it to stop diseases.
If you want to use poa annua, know that it will be a lot of work!
From the tough to the easy, bermuda grass is an extremely popular type of grass for golf courses to have. This is a strong grass that is unlikely to be beaten down or damaged from repeated golf swings. This will save on you having to repair it!
Moreover, the grass is practically made for hot temperatures. For that reason, it’s very popular in states across America that are frequently hot and have little rain.
This is a grass that is extremely resistant to drought, meaning that it won’t have to be watered too often, and you won’t have to wish upon rain every now and then. These constant heats are actually the conditions that it grows best under!
However, a downside is that bermuda grass will struggle to survive as well when it comes to below freezing temperatures. This is understandable, considering how well it thrives in extreme heat, but it can still be a problem for many.
If you’re expecting a particularly cold winter season, this type of grass on your golf course is going to be a struggle. It will need repairing or replacing if it gets too damaged by below freezing temperatures.
A good sign that it’s gone bad in the cold is that it will turn a brown color, far from the healthy green.
That said, it adds a variety of differences to the golf games being played on it. If there is bermuda grass in the rough, you can expect a spongy type of texture to it, meaning that you’ll have to alter your game.
A putting green, however, can have closely mowed bermuda grass that will help roll the ball further than it normally may go with other types of grass.
Zoysia is also very capable of dealing with hot temperature places, needing little water to keep it healthy – definitely resistant to droughting. It’s also a type of grass that is good at resisting diseases.
If you keep it moisturized enough and use some fungicide treatments every now and then, it should keep undiseased most of the time.
Another benefit of having zoysia grass laid down on your golf course is that it produces very dense thatches that will help keep the grass very strong and resilient when it comes to golf players.
If there’s a lot of high traffic across the course, with hundreds of players all swinging against the grass, it is unlikely to get damaged too much if you’re using zoysia – all because of its thickness and density.
A negative to having zoysia laid down, though, is that it tends to grow a lot slower than many of the other popular types of grasses used on golf courses. If you’ve had a bare section of the course, or a section of grass that has been damaged, it won’t grow back very quickly.
This can be a big problem for a golf club because you need your course to be fully functional at all times.
If a section of it is unusable because the grass hasn’t grown yet, it’s going to affect the games that are going on and potentially stop some players from coming back to the club.
However, if you can time it right so that it grows in time without affecting the play, you will get very thick and very drought-resistant grass that will thrive when sitting in the sun constantly.
Keeping Your Own Lawn Healthy
Now, if any of these types of grass have caught your eye, you may want to try using them at home. If you’re going to do this, you may want to adopt the same upkeep tools that golf courses use.
If the grass needs regular watering, make sure that you do. Some survive droughts, but not all.
Additionally, mowing is important. Reel mowers are often used on real golf courses, so try one of them – they’re not too expensive! But make sure not to cut too short, because it could scalp the grass.
And there you have it! There is a variety of popular types of grass that are used across the world on golf courses. Each has its benefits, whether it’s withstanding heat, or being dense and thick to put up with thousands of golf swings.
If you want to try laying down these types for yourself at home, you can! Just make sure that you keep them in condition, just as a golf course would.