Get to Know the Grass of Your Golf Course

Get to Know the Grass of Your Golf Course

There’s 24 hours in a day, and if you’re like most people you probably spend 7 or so of them asleep. When you’re lying down there’s nothing under your feet, and that’s a darn good thing. But the rest of the time there is something beneath your feet, and you’re probably in footwear of some sort. Hopefully a good portion of that time is spent on a golf course in Palm Desert, and you’re wearing golf shoes. If so it’s going to be grass under your feet while you’re on the links, but have you ever given much thought to what type of grass is found on most golf courses?

You probably know it’s plenty green and lush and that the course puts a whole lot of time and effort (and money) into making sure it is that way, but what about the actual grass itself? There are different kinds of golf course grass and they’re not all the same. Just like all Palm Desert golf courses aren’t the same, although this is one of the areas in Southern California where you will be hard pressed to find a substandard course. All the ones here are pretty darn good, and of course we think we’re among the best public golf courses in Palm Desert. You can book a tee time online here.

We all tend to talk about skills, gear, and different facets of the game itself quite often but don’t give much thought to the other aspects of the game and what goes into our experience of it. The more that you think about it, golf course grass is a part of that so let’s use this blog entry to talk about the reason greens are called greens and the different golf course grass types. You may feel differently the next time you put a divot back in place or your approach shot is out of the rough.

Turf It Is

All golf grass is going to be some type of turf grass, and the primary reason for that is quite simple and logical – turf grass is tougher and more resilient than the type of grass you’d have on your lawn. As any golfer will know, golf grass is cut short regularly and that’s the way it has to be. Turf grass can be cut short regularly and still remain healthy and strong, while lawn grass needs to be able to grow out and thicken in order to be the same way. That would make for a regularly empty golf course, so all Coachella golf courses are going to be like every other one in the USA and featuring turf grass.

Most golf courses will have real grass, but some use synthetic golf course turf and this is truer in areas of the country where grass doesn’t grow especially well. Our Southern California golf season realities are fairly fortunate and we play golf ideally at times when the rest of the country is dealing with weather that is not conducive to growing good grass, so our Palm Desert golf course is lucky that way.

There are different turf golf course grasses, and so let’s list them out here:

1. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda Grass is the most popular golf course grass. It is a warm-season grass and grows optimally in warm areas where regular temperatures go high enough that they are unconducive for many other kinds of grass. And yes, that’s often the type of weather we have here at Palm Desert golf courses.

Bermuda grass for golf courses can also be mowed quite low, and of course that’s necessary for golfers to enjoy the experience and have the fairway and greens they expect. This type of grass is also drought-resistant and repairs quickly but one important point for it is that it can’t get too cold. Again, not something that’s going to happen here or anywhere on the sunniest golf courses in the USA.

Bermuda is best in southern climates where the temperature is higher, and droughts are more of a possibility. Let’s remember that in many places it is not as simple and straightforward to water a golf course as often as needed as before.

2. Bentgrass

Bentgrass comes in at #2 for popular golf course grasses. It is the most versatile and hardiest, able to withstand colder regions while also being very aesthetically attractive. Bentgrass grows quite short, and this means it can be mowed low regularly and creating much less in the way of clipping mulch. Bentgrass is a popular choice as a fairways grass on golf courses. And because it grows thick it can withstand heavy traffic – something that’s always the scenario for the fairways of popular golf courses in Palm Desert.

The last big appeal point for Bentgrass on golf courses is that it doesn’t need much water to grow. This grass thrives in the Northeast, parts of the Midwest, and on golf courses of the Pacific Northwest.

3. Fescue Grass

Fescue is a cool season grass able to handle colder temperatures and also some heat. This makes it an ideal golf course grass for areas that get more of both ends of temperature extremes. It also benefits from both looking and feeling good and it’s used as golf fairway grass for this reason. This type of golf grass is also used for areas of the course that are not mowed because of the way it grows quickly. Meaning areas of the golf course you don’t want to be familiar with. 

4. Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is a good choice for golf course turf too, and quite often that is what is under your feet when you’re on the tee box. It is used for fairways and greens too and it has a fine texture like fescue grass. When it comes to the putting plate, ryegrass is good because the way it grows more upright means it provides less friction on the green.

Ryegrass is really good for golf course aesthetics too because it allows for very nice striping. Plus its smooth texture and deep green color really come out when it is properly fertilized. The only drawback for golf course ryegrass is that it is a little higher maintenance.

5. Zoysia Grass

Zoysia is a native Asian grass that has become a popular golf course grass here in America. It only does well in warmer climates, but that’s what you’ll find in Southern areas of the USA. Zoysia can tolerate creeping heat and drought and it doesn’t need the same level of irrigation – something that is increasingly an issue here in SoCal. With the right fertilization Zoysia grows into a thick grass suitable for both golf courses and lawns.

This golf grass is also well suited to handling heavy traffic and still looking good and performing well. It grows a little slower but it seeds and spreads well and more golf courses are using this grass nowadays.

6. Poa Annua Grass

The last one on our list of golf course grass types here is Poa Annua, and the reason we add it is because it is really popular for USA west coast golf courses like our public golf course in Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley. Poa annua is a low-growing grass, and this makes it ideal as a turf grass that grows best in temperate regions. There are also several perennial species of it. The opposite of Zoysia, Poa Annua does need a lot of irrigation though.

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Whether you’re attuned to the grass beneath your feet on the links or not, every golfer will want to have good rounds consistently no matter what they’re hitting or putting off. We have top-notch golf pros that give golf lessons here at Palm Desert plus our Clubhouse features excellent dining and casual eats and drinks at the Cactus Club Restaurant. Follow us on Facebook too, and we look forward to seeing you here. We’re right in the middle of golf season in Palm Desert CA here, and every day is as good as any day to get a round of golf in. Come see what makes us one of the best golf courses in Palm Desert.

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