3 Things To Know About New Bermuda Greens
This week’s final tour stop before the cut to 125 players for the annual FedEx Cup Playoffs is the Wyndham Championship. It’s being played at the historic Donald Ross designed, Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sedgefield C.C. features champion bermuda grass on their greens. It’s one of the new hybrid strains of bermuda grass that has become extremely popular for many of today’s private courses, especially in the Southern portion of the Unites States. This new type of bermuda grass has a high heat tolerance, which has become a major issue in recent years for courses in the South, and holds up extremely well with wear and tear from constant foot traffic and ball marks.
Firm, Fast & True
If the golf course you play at is considering, or in the process of a switch to this strain of grass, there are a couple of key things you’ll want to know before you play on them.
The greens are going to be extremely firm for the first year or two as the grass adapts to the underlying surface. This will be a big change for some, especially if you’re used to bent grass greens, which are relatively receptive to golf ball’s.
If you have an pin location in the back of the green and are looking to get it close, you may need to take one less golf club or a little bit off the golf club you have in your hand. Play for the initial bounce and ensuing roll in order to cozy the ball closer to the flag. A shot landing closer to pin high is likely to go over the back of the green, leaving you little room between you and the hole to get up and down.
The greens will have less grain than older bermuda greens. These new and improved strains have a finer texture and more narrow leaf structure, allowing the grass to grow closer together, creating a more dense turf surface with less grain.
How does grain play a role in your putting? Grain can deflect a rolling ball offline from its intended direction or affect the overall speed of a putt if you are “into the grain” or “down-grain.”
On top of this, champion bermuda greens have a tendency to grow horizontally over the course of the day as temperatures rise as opposed to vertically. Because of this your putts should roll much truer and faster than before.
With the influx of these new hybrid bermuda greens such as Champion, Tifdwarf, Mini Verde, and others, it may not be long before you find yourself facing a turf grass renovation at your own golf course or travelling to a course that has recently made the switch (example: Pinehurst No.2).
As someone who grew up on old traditional bermuda grass greens, I can tell you firsthand that there is no comparison to these new hybrid grasses. Frustration was always something to overcome through the course of a normal round when I was growing up. I thought I hit a good putt on my intended line only to see it bobble, bounce off line, or stop abruptly as a result of the inconsistencies in the grass and grain.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of playing on these new surfaces, seek out a course that has converted and try it out! Just remember these three key features: firm, fast, and true.
If you have other questions, email our PGA Professional staff!
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