Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

61

The playing quality of golf greens

S.W. Baker

Sports Turf Research Institute, Bingley, UK

Abstract

The playing quality of golf greens is influenced by the way in which the ball interacts with the surface following an approach shot and by the ball roll characteristics during putting. There has been increasing interest in the characterisation of components of playing quality for golf greens, as this produces objectives for both green management and for future research work on golf greens. Techniques to measure green speed have existed for well over forty years, but most of the published work on hardness and ball impacts has been restricted to the last eight years. Both construction materials and grass type have important effects on playing quality and these properties are subsequently modified by management, in particular fertiliser application, irrigation and cutting height. Management operations can bring about not only immediate changes in playing quality, but there are also indirect and longer-term changes caused by modification of the species composition of the sward and this must be considered in any management programme.

Keywords: Golf Greens, Playing Quality, Green Speed, Ball Impact, Hardness, Construction, Maintenance.


1 Introduction

A high proportion of the shots played in a round of golf take place onto or on the putting green. For example, Lodge and Baker (1991), using data for professional players given by Jones (1990), concluded that approximately two-thirds of the shots would involve interaction between the ball and golf green turf, either in the form of approach shots played onto the green or as putts. The quality of golf greens will therefore have a profound influence on a player's enjoyment of his or her game, as well as their final score for a round.

Playing quality for any sport can normally be subdivided into a number of components of which interaction between the player and the surface and interaction between the ball and the surface are usually considered to be the most important characteristics (Baker and Canaway 1993). Player/surface interaction is relatively unimportant in golf as the nature of the game means that players do not usually fall or land heavily on the playing surface and usually have sufficient grip, except perhaps on steep slopes in wet weather or surfaces affected by algal slimes. Ball/surface interaction is, however, critical in golf and the player must continually adjust his or her game to anticipate how the ball will respond to the prevailing conditions of the turf surface.

Ball/surface interaction on golf greens can in turn be subdivided into two components, firstly, ball roll and secondly, ball impact on the green. Ball roll properties determine what

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-409-

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