Providing there is an adequate turf maintenance program in place the growing environment has the greatest impact on the performance of turfgrasses prepared as golfing surfaces. To maintain healthy turfgrass on greens, tees and fairways and in particular greens, it is critical that they receive adequate sunlight and air movement. If either component is lacking, turf quality will be compromised. Golf greens are the most intensely maintained turf areas on the golf course, however, even well-constructed putting greens with the best turfgrass varieties will struggle in a poor growing environment.
In order to provide a high quality playing surface for golf, a healthy and robust turfgrass sward has to be established and maintained. A key element for any turfgrass and in particular where it is used for high level golfing surfaces, it must receive a certain quantum of sunlight each day. The quality and quantity of light the turfgrass receives is essential for the process of photosynthesis which converts light energy into chemical energy and then storing the energy as sugars for the plant’s growth and health.
Strong growth and good plant health is essential for turfgrasses to withstand the low cutting heights, frequent mowing and the regular rolling required in the preparation of high quality golfing surfaces and in particular putting surfaces. Good plant health and growth is also essential for the turf to recover from wear.
Traditionally it has been considered that the most critical time of year for providing sufficient light is during the months of May to late September. During this period for optimum creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) growth and health to occur, the sunlight required for the photosynthesis process will ideally be received at a minimum rate of 10 – 12 mol/m2 /day. However, recent research has indicated that even during mid-summer the turf requires a minimum quantum of light in order to grow and to maintain a healthy turf (M. Richardson, 2017).
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