A considerable amount of effort goes into planning the perfect golf course. One of the most significant considerations of all course designers is which variety of grass should be used in each area of the course.
As this article introduces, there are several types of golf course grass used in the US, and one of the primary influences is the climate that the course experiences for the majority of the year.
This is because some grasses thrive in warm climates, while others work better in cooler temperatures.
Below, we introduce the most popular types of grass commonly used on golf courses in the US before answering some FAQs about golf course grass management. First, however, let’s begin by identifying what the best grass for a golf course is.
What is the Best Grass for a Golf Course?
The best type of grass to use on a golf course is a variety that is tough and fast repairing.
However, it also needs to be capable of withstanding lots of traffic, given the number of players that walk the fairways, greens rough, and tee boxes each day, and the maintenance crews and vehicles used to sustain the course.
Depending on where in the country the golf course is, turf-grasses such as Bermuda, Bentgrass, Zoysia, Kentucky Bluegrass, or Perennial Rye might be used.
Used at the pristine Augusta National, Bermudagrass is often regarded as one of the best grasses to use on a golf course, but the climate of a course will impact the type of grass that is planted, so it isn’t easy to definitively mark one variety of grass as the best.
Most Popular Types of Grass Commonly Used on Golf Courses
Below we introduce you to five of the most commonly used types of grass on golf courses around the world and explain their benefits and what conditions they’re best suited to.
Scientific name: Cynodon dactylon
As you might expect from its tropical-sounding name, Bermudagrass is commonly found on courses that boast a warm climate year-round.
In the US, courses in Florida and Georgia utilize Bermudagrass, as it is heat and drought resistant and is receptive to being mowed low, which is ideal for cultivating smooth putting surfaces.
You’re unlikely to find Bermudagrass in colder climates, as it dies if temperatures drop consistently below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to play golf with the sun beating down on your neck all year round, you’re likely to be playing on Bermudagrass.
Scientific name: Agrostis
While Bermudagrass is unable to survive in colder temperatures, Bentgrass is much more resilient and can withstand colder regions, making it more widely used by golf courses that experience yearly changes in their climate.
Bentgrass also grows short and can be mowed low, which doesn’t harm the quality of the grass.
Because Bentgrass is capable of growing thick, it is commonly used on fairways as well as greens, thanks to its ability to withstand heavy traffic.
In addition, you will find that Bentgrass is used on golf courses in different parts of the world, as it doesn’t require a great deal of water to grow.
Of course, it’s perfectly suited for Northern climates where the weather is cooler, but it also thrives on courses in the Northeast as well as the Pacific Midwest.
Scientific name: Zoysia
Zoysia is a grass variety that is native to the Asian continent, but it has been cultivated in the US for more than a century.
Much like Bermuda, Zoysia is best suited to warmer climates where water is sparse. Favored for its drought-tolerant properties, it saves golf courses in water-scarce regions lots of money on irrigation.
It is another thick growing grass that is durable, meaning it won’t damage easily after experiencing high volumes of foot traffic.
While you’re unlikely to see Zoysia grass on the greens, it’s an ideal variety for both tee boxes and fairways at warm weather, municipal golf courses.
4. Kentucky Bluegrass
Scientific name: Poa pratensis
You will typically find Kentucky Bluegrass just off the fairways on lots of courses around the country, regardless of the climate.
Kentucky Bluegrass is appreciated for its hardy properties and ability to thrive in most environments, as well as its tendency to do well when it’s left to grow longer.
Although not commonly found on fairways of newer courses, you might still find Kentucky Bluegrass on fairways on courses more than twenty-five years old.
It was originally favored predominantly for its ability to withstand heavy traffic.
Newer courses tend to opt for creeping Bentgrass on the fairways as it is more tolerant to low cuttings, making the fairways better for golf.
5. Perennial Ryegrass
Scientific name: Lolium perenne
It would be fair to say that Perennial Ryegrass is one of the longstanding favorites of golf course designers, and it is most commonly used on courses found in any cool-summer region.
In northern areas, it’s not uncommon to find perennial ryegrass used on all areas of the golf course, including fairways, tees, roughs, and even greens.
Ryegrass has a fine texture and clumps together, with its upright growing position creating less fiction on the putting surfaces where it is used.
It can also be mowed in such a way to cultivate aesthetically pleasing designs on the turf (such as striping), and it tends to carry a smooth texture with a deep green color wherever it is planted.
FAQS: Grass and Golf Courses
Why Do They Put Sand on Golf Courses?
Adding sand to golf course grass is a process known as ‘topdressing’ and is vital to the healthy growth of the grass across the course.
Sand topdressing has been performed on courses since the beginning of the game and is done to tee boxes, fairways, and greens to improve the health of the turf.
Adding sand results in improved smoothness, thatch dilution, improved turf recovery, increased firmness, and improved rootzone, each of which is vital to the maintenance of the golf course.
Although topdressing the course is disruptive and often frustrating to members, the long-term benefits significantly outweigh the short-term frustrations.
What Grass Makes the Fastest Greens?
The two most common grass varieties used on greens are Bermuda and Bentgrass.
As we’ve already introduced, Bermuda loves the heat, while Bentgrass does better in cooler climates.
You will find electric putting surfaces where Bentgrass and Bermuda are used, but as research from Purdue University reminds us, putting green speed is all in grass management instead of simply the variety of grass used.
A poorly maintained and cut Bermuda green, for instance, will run a lot more slowly than a perfectly manicured Bentgrass green, and vice versa.
What is the Difference Between Bentgrass and Bermuda Grass?
The fundamental difference between Bentgrass and Bermudagrass is the climates in which they grow and thrive.
While Bentgrass is typically used in Northern states where the temperatures are cooler, Bermuda is popular in southern states that receive year-round sunshine.
While there are certainly some exceptions to this rule (Augusta National’s greens have been Bentgrass since 1981, for instance), it’s a good general rule of thumb to work with.
How Often do Golf Courses Water their Grass?
This is a difficult question to give a succinct answer to, as it largely depends on where a golf course is located!
Courses that experience high volumes of rainfall can rely mainly on nature to water the grass for them, whereas those in warmer, drier climes must be watered regularly.
One thing that is often overlooked is that overwatering is often just as harmful as underwatering.
Water conducts heat, so flooding a fairway or putting the surface with water will cause it to cook, ultimately damaging the grass on the surface.
Depending on the climate, golf course maintenance staff implement a water management system all year round to ensure their grass receives the ideal amount of water to thrive.
Location and Course Grass Explained
The type of grass used at a particular golf course largely depends on its location.
The five varieties that have been introduced in this article are commonly used on golf courses throughout the US and even further afield and are likely to feature on many of the courses that you enjoy playing.
Bentgrass and Bermudagrass tend to take the limelight, particularly where putting surfaces are discussed, and for good reason.
Both varieties are traffic resistant, fast repairing, and can be cut low, making them perfect options to be used on golf courses throughout the US.
What type of grass is used on golf course rough? ›
Grass in the Rough
When it comes to the rough area of the golf course, the common grass used is Kentucky Bluegrass or Perennial Rye. The quality of this grass to withstand severe climatic conditions makes it hard grass and thus suitable for roughs.
There are five main types of golf courses found around the world: links, parkland, desert, heathland, and sandbelt. Each type of course has unique characteristics and is found in very different locations.What kind of grass is at Augusta? ›
The main turfgrass at Augusta is bermuda, which stops growing at the end of the summer, as the nights get cooler, growing dormant and brown — or it would, except that Augusta pre-empts part of that process by “scalping” the bermuda, cutting it down to nearly nothing.What type of grass is Augusta National golf course? ›
The industry has come a long way since 1967, and the development of high-quality perennial ryegrass cultivars has helped give Augusta National the aesthetic appeal it has today.What is a 5 golf? ›
A 5-wood is used for a shot of about 180 yards, while a 5-iron is used for a shot of about 160 yards. As you may have deduced from the numbers above, a 5-wood and 3-iron are both typically used for the same distance shot and should be chosen based on the desired loft for the shot.What is the grass around the green called? ›
Apron The grass surface on the perimeter of the green that separates it from the surrounding fairway or rough. Also known as the fringe.What is a 5 called in golf? ›
And on a par-6 hole (which you might never encounter because they are not common), a score of 5 is called a birdie. Calling a score a par means that the golfer played the hole in the same number of strokes as the hole's par rating: 3 strokes on a par-3, 4 on a par-4, 5 on a par-5.What is the most common grass used on golf courses? ›
- Bermuda Grass. Bermuda Grass is the most popular golf course grass. ...
- Bentgrass. Bentgrass comes in at #2 for popular golf course grasses. ...
- Fescue Grass. ...
- Ryegrass. ...
- Zoysia Grass. ...
- Poa Annua Grass.
Bermuda is one of the most well-known and commonly used turf grasses installed on golf courses in warm locations such as Florida. It repairs rapidly and withstands traffic well.What kind of grass is at St Andrews? ›
The St Andrews fescue is patchy and wispy — the product of the sandy, fast-draining land it sits on. It means that more often than not, players will be able to hit a good shot out of it.
What kind of golf woods are there? ›
Woods generally fall into two classes, drivers and fairway woods, with a traditional set of clubs including a driver and one or two fairway woods (usually numbered 3 and 5).How many standard golf courses are there? ›
A regulation golf course usually consists of 18 holes of varied length. There are generally four short holes, 130 to 200 yards (par 3); ten average holes 350 to 400 yards (par 4); and four long holes 450 to 550 yards (par 5).What grass is used at the Masters? ›
Augusta National's primary turfgrass is bermuda. During the hot and humid Georgia summer, bermudagrass covers the landscape because of its heat tolerance characteristics (amongst other reasons). In the Fall as the nights become cooler, the bermudagrass goes dormant, stops growing, and turns brown.What grass is in Arizona golf? ›
Because Arizona is mostly a warm climate with few months of cold weather, Bermuda grass is primary on most Arizona golf courses.What type of grass is used at Pebble Beach? ›
The world-famous Pebble Beach golf course in California is renowned for being 100% Poa Annua grass. It is also commonly found in courses in the Midwest and Northeastern US.What kind of grass is used at Bay Hill golf course? ›
Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge features 7,381 yards of beautiful ponds, Bermudagrass and some of the most challenging golf in the world.What kind of grass do Minnesota golf courses use? ›
The turfgrasses that are typically planted on lawns, parks, and golf courses in Minnesota are considered cool-season grasses. These grasses show increased growth during the spring and fall and reduced growth during the heat of the summer.What are the 7 irons for golf? ›
THE LOFT, LENGTH, AND DISTANCE
Irons are divided into three sets; long irons (2, 3 and 4-irons), mid-irons (5, 6 and 7-irons) and short irons (8 and 9-irons, plus the pitching wedge). Long irons are used to hit the ball further with a shorter loft, while the short irons are designed to produce a higher loft.
As a 7-handicap, you're in the top 21 percent of male golfers—top 3 percent for females—according to the United States Golf Association. A professional career isn't happening anytime soon, but you should be proud of the level you've attained.Is there a 5 iron in golf? ›
5 iron, the 5 iron will have a lower trajectory and shorter carry distance but more roll and more control. A 5 iron golf club will have a loft of anywhere from 21 to 27 degrees.
What is the first shot in golf called? ›
Drive. A drive is a type of shot. It describes the first shot taken from the tee box for each hole on the golf course.What is a good golf shot called? ›
An ace, commonly known as a hole-in-one, is the best score out there.What is the last hole in golf called? ›
A golf course's finishing hole is straightforward: it's the last hole on the course. The hole where the golf course finishes. If Podunk National Golf Club is an 18-hole golf course, then the 18th hole is the finishing hole. If it is a 9-holer, then the ninth hole is the finishing hole.What is 3 shots in golf called? ›
For hole completions three strokes under par is recognized in golf as Albatross. This is also known as “double eagle” in relation to the “birdie” and “eagle” theme.What is 5 shots under par called? ›
Terms exist for even rarer events — "ostrich" for 5 under par (-5) and "phoenix" for 6 under par (-6) — but no one has ever made these shots. Some consider them impossible — they require a hole-in-one on a par-6 or par-7 hole — because these holes themselves are very rare.What is 4 strokes in golf called? ›
|Score||Name||how many strokes|
|−4||Condor||four strokes under par|
|−3||Albatross (Double eagle)||three strokes under par|
|−2||Eagle||two strokes under par|
|−1||Birdie||one stroke under par|
Golf course fescue is usually grown in the second cut of rough or beyond (such as in unmowed native areas). When golfers think of fescue, they picture a sturdy grass that turns golden and can grow three feet high.What is the softest grass? ›
Fine fescues, as the name suggests, have fine-bladed leaves and are among the softest and most lush grasses for bare feet. These finely-bladed grasses are known for doing well in shady areas but aren't great for a lawn with high traffic needs.What grass is in most golf fairways? ›
Rye Grass. A lot of golf clubs and courses use rye grass exclusively for roughs and fairways. It is a grass which is hard wearing and is able to endure close and narrow mowing. It also has a smooth texture and more often than not is found at golf clubs and courses in cool-summer regions.What grass is used at Kings Park? ›
An example of Kikuyu grass variety from WCT can be seen extensively around Kings Park, in particular the Kings Park War Memorial. Kikuyu grass originated in the East African highlands.
What kind of grass is marathon grass? ›
The Marathon products are all tall fescue grass species and are significantly more durable than other cool-season varieties of sod available for use in Southern California.What type of grass is Windsor green? ›
Windsor Green is a fine leafed soft hybrid couch lawn visually similar to Winter Green. It was bred specifically for sporting activities, so is suitable for high wear areas and children's play areas. Windsor Green is very drought tolerant lawn due to its fine leaf and deep root system.Are there 4 or 5 majors in golf? ›
Four Major Golf Tournaments
The PGA has four Major Golf Tournament events that take place during the season — The Masters Tournament, The U.S. Open, The Open Championship and The PGA Championship. The majors can make or break a player's career.
The Tradition (Champions Tour major since foundation in 1989) – May. Senior PGA Championship (founded 1937; Champions Tour major since 1980) – May. U.S. Senior Open (Champions Tour major since foundation in 1980) – July. Senior Players Championship (Champions Tour major since foundation in 1983) – June.Who has the most top 5 finishes in golf majors? ›
Nicklaus holds the record for most top-five finishes in major championships with 56. One of two players to finish in the top five in all four professional major championships in two different years (1971 and 1973), the other being Tiger Woods (2000 and 2005).Is there a 5 wood in golf? ›
Compared to a 3 wood, a 5 wood has more loft-like how it works with irons. The standard loft of a 5 wood is between 20 and 22 degrees. For comparison, that loft lands you between a 3 and 4 hybrid. However, due to the lightweight carbon crown and overall club construction, the 5 wood offers a bit more distance.What does a 5 wood replace? ›
The larger clubhead of a fairway wood compared to an iron makes it easier to achieve more distance without over-swinging. As a general rule of thumb, a 5-wood would replace a 2-iron a 7-wood the 3- or 4-iron, a 9-wood the 5-iron.Why are 7 woods so popular? ›
“The 7-wood is an easier club to spin than a hybrid,” he says. “It has a higher peak flight than a hybrid, and it's more consistent for left-to-right ball flights, especially with how we tend to build them for our tour staff. We often build 7-woods an inch shorter than typical—41 inches instead of 42.What is a smaller golf course called? ›
What is even shorter than an Executive Course? It is a Par-3 Course. This is best for those who want to complete a quick round of golf and call it a day. It is called a Par-3 course because all there is to go through are par-3 holes.
According to the website Scottish Golf History, the number was cut to 18 pretty arbitrarily when four short holes were combined into two (played in two directions) in 1764. And this still wasn't a template right away for other courses as evidenced by Prestwick Golf Club opening in 1851 with just 12 holes.
Is there 18 holes in a golf course? ›
A standard round of golf consists of 18 holes, and as such most courses contain 18 distinct holes; however, there are many 9-hole courses and some that have holes with shared fairways or greens. There are also courses with a non-standard number of holes, such as 12 or 14.What are the Greens called in golf? ›
The green – or putting green – consists of the area at the far end of a golf hole where the grass is kept shortest and on which golfers are meant to use a putter. The green represents the general target area of a golf hole as it contains the actual hole inside its perimeter.What type of grass is PGA West? ›
“With the recent releases of new varieties of turf that provide a better, faster, smoother roll of the ball, it was a good time to complete this project,” PGA WEST director of agronomy Chris May said. “We chose TifEagle Bermudagrass based on its proven track record of performance and genetic stability.”What type of grass is fairway green? ›
Kentucky Bluegrass,Creeping Red Fescue,Fine Leaf Turf Type Rye.What are the two main types of grass? ›
Two main types of grass for turf are warm-season grass and cool-season grass. Pick the species of grass seed that matches your climate and your yard's sun exposure. Also consider how much moisture your lawn will get. You may need a grass that resists drought.What is the grass around a golf hole called? ›
The Green. The green is where each hole is located. The grass here is also cut short, which provides the perfect surface for the ball to easily roll when a golfer is putting. Compared to the fairway, you may notice that the green has somewhat longer grass on the edges.What are the hardest greens in golf? ›
- 2nd hole—Tara Iti Golf Club, Mangawhai, New Zealand (182 yards, par three) ...
- 14th hole—Machrihanish Dunes, Machrihanish, Scotland (332 yards, par four) ...
- 8th hole—Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif. ...
- 6th hole—Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland (189 yards, par three)
Bermuda is one of the most well-known and commonly used turf grasses installed on golf courses in warm locations such as Florida. It repairs rapidly and withstands traffic well.What kind of grass is Pebble Beach greens? ›
The world-famous Pebble Beach golf course in California is renowned for being 100% Poa Annua grass. It is also commonly found in courses in the Midwest and Northeastern US.
What is the softest grass in the world? ›
Fine fescues, as the name suggests, have fine-bladed leaves and are among the softest and most lush grasses for bare feet. These finely-bladed grasses are known for doing well in shady areas but aren't great for a lawn with high traffic needs.How many grass types are there? ›
There are more than 11,000 grass species, but ornamental grasses and turfgrasses make up the majority of cultivated grass varieties.What is the most common grass type? ›
Kentucky bluegrass is the most popular grass used for lawn in the United States, and for good reason. It creates one of the most high-quality lawns possible. Its soft velvety texture, deep green color and tolerance to heavy traffic make it one of the best choices for yards, sports fields and campuses.