How Shinnecock Hills keeps its greens in shape

By |  June 14, 2018 0 Comments
Cub Cadet

The Cub Cadet TruEdge in action.

Ever wonder how Shinnecock Hills Golf Club maintains the shape of those iconic greens?

Is it magic?

Not quite… but it is invisible to the eye.

Shinnecock Hills uses the Cub Cadet TruEdge system to line their greens and help the grounds crew create a precise cut. Each green is surrounded by wire that is buried about 10-12 inches underneath the turf.

The TruEdge transmitter.

Prior to mowing, the operator turns on a transmitter on the green which charges the wire. The operator then installs an attachment to their greens mower, which connects to the underground wire and displays a light up blue LED line on the mower attachment guiding the operator to the exact edge of the green and to a clean cut around the green.

Pretty slick, in our opinion.

“We use so much technology, we don’t even think about it now,” admits Jon Jennings, CGCS of Shinnecock Hills. He’s used TruEdge for a couple of years and estimates that without it, the greens would lose up to an inch a month and more on corners.

Mike VandenBosch, assistant-in-training.

According to Mike Vanden Bosch, assistant-in-training, Cub Cadet first demonstrated the TruEdge system with robotic mowers at the golf course, but because of the steepness of Shinnecock’s bunker banks, the robotic mowers weren’t a great fit.

The TruEdge stayed and it’s helped maintain the size and shape of greens ever since.

“You’ll get human error, the person scalps the turf instead of letting it go and letting that grass grow back, and then they’ll just continue to scalp that area so it doesn’t look like they made a mistake,” says Vanden Bosch. “Then that happens for years, and so (the green) will start off small and then years later it’s two feet bigger than it was. That gradually happens until you say, ‘Oh, we don’t know where the green is.’”

“This way, even if your green does get scalped out, you’ll be able to find it because of the wire in the ground,” he explains.

Aside from helping maintain the shape of the green, the LED guide makes it easier to mow greens edges cleanly during the 4 a.m. calls when it’s still dark outside – a big improvement over using paint to dot around the green.

The technology offers plenty of upside, says Vanden Bosch. “Things are just getting a little bit easier for turfgrass managers, the science is great, and the technology is really taking off with mowers, drones and data,” he says.

“In a few years, it’ll be really interesting to see how things are done on a golf course,” he says. “We’re getting more tools to make our jobs easier and we’re better turf managers because of it.”

Photos: Seth Jones

This article is tagged with , , , , , and posted in Blog

Post a Comment