What Goes into Maintaining a Perfect Putting Surface? - Ask BrightView

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Ask BrightView: Episode 3

Four factors go into maintaining great greens on a golf course: proper construction and turf grass selection, moisture management, proper utilization of equipment, and a well-trained golf course superintendent. Vice President of BrightView Golf Course Maintenance Terry McGuire explains each factor to make the perfect greens..

(For the full transcript, see below.)

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Video Transcription

What goes into maintaining a perfect putting surface?

SPENCER BROWN, PGA Director of Golf:

Wow, these greens are perfect. I wonder how they keep him this nice.


I've had the opportunity to maintain golf courses for the last 25 years all over the world.

There are basically three factors that go into perfect greens: the first is firmness, the second is the speed of the green, and lastly, it's consistency amongst all of the greens during your entire round the golf.

There are also four factors that go into maintaining great greens: the first is proper construction and turf grass selection; the next is agronomics, with a focus on moisture management; the third is proper utilization of equipment; and the last, and what we believe to be the most important, is having a well-trained professional golf course superintendent.

Proper Construction and Turf Grass Selection

Let's explore this a little further. Proper construction is nothing more than providing adequate growing medium to sustain turf grass. The basic premise is having a soil that holds enough moisture to grow grass while allowing all excess moisture to drain through and we monitor that through pulling core samples and looking at what that actual medium is. It's typically about 90 percent sand and 10 percent organic matter.

As far as turf grass selection, anything in warmer climates is typically a Bermuda grass variety, whereas anything in northern climates would be a bentgrass.

Moisture Management

Another critical factor to maintaining great greens is actually managing moisture levels. We do that through irrigation and hand watering. Typically, you want to keep enough moisture in the soil to keep the plant healthy, but not excessive moisture because that then can lead to soft or slower greens. We use a soil moisture meter reading to monitor that and typically we like to stay in the range of about 25 percent, given the time of year and temperatures.

Proper Utilization of Equipment

Another important factor is the proper selection and utilization of equipment. This is an area that has become tremendously advanced in the last couple of decades and use of this equipment properly can provide excellent smooth, firm cutting surfaces. You'd be surprised to know that the way we measure setting up our height of cut actually goes to the hundredth of an inch.

Well-Trained Golf Course Superintendent

None of what I've just described is possible without having a well-trained and professional golf course superintendent. The passion that these guys bring to their job every day is truly what delivers great greens for golfers to enjoy.