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A management plan for putting green surrounds

By and |  April 11, 2022 0 Comments
Green surrounds require a different management program than other areas of the rough because of the architectural features and heavy traffic in these areas.

Green surrounds require a different management program than other areas of the rough because of the architectural features and heavy traffic in these areas. (Photo: USGA Green Section)

Most golfers miss a fair number of greens during each round, which makes the green surrounds a very important part of the course. Green surrounds can also be a major source of frustration for golfers and superintendents alike because it can be difficult to maintain quality turf in these high-traffic, high-visibility areas. Producing consistent lies in the rough throughout an entire course is virtually impossible, but most agree there should be healthy, weed-free grass in the green surrounds. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

Surrounds management plan

In our recent Green Section Record article, we discuss creating a management plan tailored to the specific needs of the rough in the green surrounds. The term “green surround” isn’t found in turfgrass textbooks or the Rules of Golf. So we defined the green surround as rough around the greens. Collars, approaches and other closely mown areas around greens all require different management inputs and techniques than rough areas, so we excluded them from this article.

A specific management plan is an essential step toward improving the performance and reliability of turf in this area. Too many courses treat the rough in the green surrounds like rough in other areas, but the intensity of play and traffic in these areas necessitates a specialized program.

Our article focuses on traffic management, mowing practices, fertility, pest control and establishing grasses that are better suited to surrounds. The key takeaways for the article include:

  • Green surrounds are one of the most heavily used parts of a golf course, and they face unique maintenance challenges.
  • Concentrated traffic, tight spaces and tree issues are some of the most common reasons green surrounds struggle.
  • Depending on design features and available labor, superintendents may need specialized equipment to manage green surrounds successfully.
  • Improving the condition of green surroundings requires increasing resources or prioritizing this area over other rough areas.

If a budget increase is not possible, create a hierarchy for the different rough areas on the course based on the amount of play they receive instead of maintaining them all at the same level. It would help to prioritize green surrounds over tee surrounds and primary rough. 



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