Last week I had a number of people come up to me complaining about the inconsistency of the greens. Overall they were consistent with each other but from day to day the speed was changing drastically. This was due to the fact that the growth rate of the turf quadrupled on April 23. This was due to the warmer temperatures we have been experiencing especially the warmer overnight temperatures.
On the 23rd we applied a growth regulator (primo) to slow the vertical growth of the turf on the greens so that they will become more consistent day to day.
Something that we started last fall was to monitor the growth rate of the turf with each mowing of the greens. I have a blog post here that explains the process. This is a really cool tool for us because we can see how quickly the turf is growing and how it responds to our cultural practices. The above graph shows the growth rate over time. You can see on the 20th the growth rate takes a surge. Prior to this date we were only cutting our greens every 4-5 days with very consistent playing conditions. Ideally I would have applied the growth regulator before the surge in growth but this year we missed the mark by a week so it got away on us just a bit. You can see that a week after the growth regulators were applied the growth rate has now dropped to a reasonable rate again.
This is also a good reminder to use our practice putting greens before your round. They are always consistent with the greens on the course. Use them to prevent finding out the greens are slow on the first hole!
By cutting every other day and rolling daily we should now be able to keep the greens consistent day to day for the rest of the season.