Why roll golf greens?

. minute read

We all know most golfers prefer fast greens for a smoother or truer roll of the ball but from the greenkeeping team’s point of view, it’s probably more important that the greens are fast and healthy.

Toro greens roller

Every time the greens are cut, they are effectively rolled by the action of the cutting units or mower passing over the surface, but when it comes to producing the fastest roll, there’s no debating the contribution lightweight rolling plays. 

Here we consider why roll golf greens?

What is rolling the green?

Green rolling is the process of using specialised equipment to flatten and smooth the putting greens on a golf course. The machines used are pivotal in golf course maintenance, contributing to the overall golfing experience in several ways.

Originally, lightweight rollers were on golf courses primarily used to alleviate frost heaving, prep seed beds or increase green speed for tournaments, if it was used at all. Today, because of surprising results from research, lightweight rolling has been embraced as a means of creating healthy turfgrass and increasing customer satisfaction.

Why do it?

The importance of greens rolling cannot be overstated.

The benefits for golfers comes:

1.    Enhanced playability: Rolling the greens ensures a consistently smooth and level putting surface. When rolled regularly, golf balls roll more predictably, allowing players to make accurate putts with confidence. No more unpredictable bounces or deviations due to uneven surfaces.

2.    Speed control: Rolling helps maintain the desired speed of the greens an achieve faster green speeds. By controlling rolling frequency and pressure, green speeds can be tailored to match the challenges and quirks of the course and goes some way in helping golfers achieve green speeds they desire.

3.    Grain management strategy: When turfgrass growth becomes horizontal, the leaves begin to lie in various directions. The process of rolling encourages the leaves to lie in the same direction and minimises graininess, ensuring uniformity with a true roll.

4.    Improved aesthetics: Well-rolled greens create a picture-perfect scene that not only play better but look better. A smooth, unblemished surface leaves a lasting impression on golfers.

5.    Efficient water management: Regular green rolling helps in water management by preventing water from pooling in low spots, which minimises the risk of diseases caused by excessive moisture.

Toro GreensPro 1260

The benefits for the greenkeeping team:

1.    Establishes a healthy seedbed: Rolling enhances seed-to-soil contact, which leads to better growth. Rolling multiple times before seeding compresses the root zone and reduces or eliminates soil settling during or following establishment to support seed bed growth. It has been found that greens rolled several times a week, fill in and reach readiness for play in a shorter space of time than areas which are rolled less frequently.

2.    Maintenance control: Separating the process of rolling from the process of cutting gives greater control over the quality of the greens and allows the team to decide how much mowing and how much rolling the green requires, rather than relying on mowing to provide the rolling of the grass.

3.     Raised cutting height without sacrificing green speed: Studies show that areas that are frequently rolled maintained the same speeds with a higher cut as those that are infrequently rolled with a lower cut, which overall is better for the health of the turf.

4.     Improved grass quality: Consistent rolling and increased height of cut promotes the health of the turf. Tests have found that areas that are rolled have far less weeds, moss, and algae growing on the greens, retained more moisture and had more root mass, compared to the unrolled area.

5.     Supports effective topdressing: Sand topdressing is important to smooth the surface and dilute organic matter. A test was conducted to see the effect of rolling and topdressing the greens and it was concluded that around 40 percent less topdressing sand was collected in the buckets when plots were rolled after sand was applied. The tested area also showed an increase in green speed.

Deciding on the best rolling programme

Consider what kind of programme will work best for you, maintaining turf health is as important as giving decent green speed. Think about the specifics involved: the climate, grasstype, levels of play, budget and equipment. If daily mowing and rolling is not possible due to a lack of resource, alternating can be effective, or rolling on certain days of the week. Target rolling is another option, in which you only roll the 20 to 30 feet around each of the holes on the green, which is of course the place where smoothness of the putting green has the most impact on game play.

Whether used daily or as part of a weekly management routine, the Toro GreensPro 1260 offers easy manoeuvrability, comfortable use and straightforward conversion between transport and rolling. Its innovative design provides the support required to focus on boosting turf health and keeping members happy.

Lightweight greens rollers like the Toro GreensPro 1260 smooth out the playing surface without impacting the aeration of the turf or causing soil compaction so the grass reaps the benefit, and so will your customers, who appreciate the smooth play and regular green speeds for a truly satisfying game.

Just as planning is key so is the right equipment

Make the right choice of roller with Toro. As customers would expect, the Toro GreensPro 1260 roller, as with all Toro machinery, has benefited from extensive research, development, innovation, and technology.

Toro GreensPro 1260

From a wealth of USPs and stand-out features, here is how the Toro GreensPro 1260 gets the ball rolling.

1.   The offset smoothing rollers overlap, providing a consistent roll across the entire swath of the machine without leaving a roll line.

2.   The split design allows both halves of the smoothing rollers to spin independently, so they’re gentle on turf and less likely to scuff.

3.   The articulating smoothing heads hug and preserve the natural contours of the green, allowing more flexibility in choosing the direction to roll the green.

4.    It’s lightweight and can maintain a smoothing effect for up to 48 hours following the roll, leaving a residual effect and high green’ speeds, significantly improving the quality of the playing surface, without requiring daily rolling. Its effect on the trueness of the course can be measured using a Stimp Metre. These measurements will assist in planning out the right balance of mowing and rolling that the turf requires.

5.   The GreensPro 1260 is effortless to operate with convenient steering and foot pedal control. One person can convert the unit from operating to transport mode without tools.

No longer a tournament exclusive

Rolling turf as part of a balanced programme of maintenance will improve turfgrass health, improve turf quality, the condition of the greens and provide members with consistent speeds, smooth, true surfaces, and an enjoyable experience time after time. Whereas once this was a tournament venue exclusive, now every club can benefit from people-pleasing fast, consistent and healthy greens.

Source: Research done by Michigan State University