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GreenCast in UK and Ireland - Mower set up for smooth green performance


Greens smoothness is everything when it comes to giving golfers a better playing experience, according to STRI agronomist, Henry Bechelet. He believes getting it right can elevate a golf course from simply being good, to being something really special.

Speaking at the 'Playing Consistent - Staying Consistent' spring seminar series, organised by Everris, Jacobsen and Syngenta on golf courses across the country last week (26 - 30 March), Mr Bechelet highlighted results of the Syngenta Golf Player Survey that had identified smoothness was the top demand for player satisfaction, with out and out speed the least important factor in performance of greens.

"And if the focus is on smoothness, it means that we don't have to destroy our greens for the sake of pace," he said. "We can work on good agronomy and management that is geared around turf health, and producing surfaces that perform every day, all year round."

With the seminars' innovative new format of morning presentation and afternoon practical workshops, Mr Bechelet used the STRI Trueness Meter™ (above) to demonstrate the significant impact of mower set up and adjustment in delivering consistent smoothness of greens.

Using the new Jacobsen Eclipse mower with its unique infinitely variable clip rate, he showed that too low a clip rate - leaving a larger gap between cuts - could lead to a riffling effect that slows ball roll. As the clip rate increases smoothness generally improves, but if it gets too much then the smoothness can begin to decline.

"The beauty with the new technology is that once the optimum clip rate has been identified and the mowers set up, the clip rate automatically remains constant no matter how fast or slow the operator works, so we get more consistent putting performance across the green and between the greens," he reported. The set clip rate will typically vary between courses according to grass species composition, greens' design and specification, along with the speed desired by players - but once established can be set as constant across the course.

Gina Putnam of Jacobsen highlighted that with the pedestrian Eclipse mower, course managers are finding they get absolutely consistent performance, no matter who is tasked with hand cutting the greens. And where the technology is employed on the company's ride-on Eclipse greens mower, the clip rate - and therefore the greens' performance - remains constant even where operators start off slowly, speed up across the centre of the green and then slow down as they approach the collar.

"We have been receiving great comments and observations of improved greens' performance from the variable clip rate system.  Now, with the aide of the STRI research, we can quantify exactly what can be achieved and the optimum settings to enable greenkeepers to deliver the satisfaction of consistent playing greens," she added

The 'Playing Consistent - Staying Consistent' seminar series attracted greenkeepers, turf managers, agronomists and students to hear some of the latest developments and see the techniques in practice.

Click on the following links for further seminar reports:

Qualibra fulfils players' demands for quality

Balanced nutrition avoids turf stress