Scalping Collars to Increase Efficiency on Putting Greens

One of the recent projects undertaken by the course and grounds staff this spring is adjusting green and collar sizes by simply scalping turf by lowering mower heights. Although some areas on the greens will not respond well to the change in mowing height there are numerous long term benefits. Some of the benefits included are:

  • Re-capture lost putting green space

  • Increase pinable locations

  • Increase mowing efficiency of collars

Over years of mowing, putting greens will often becoming smaller and smaller. In addition it is common for original shapes of old putting greens become lost over time and become more rounded in shape. Operators tend to miss turf along the edge of the collar in fear of scalping. Over prolonged periods of time significant changes to greens can occur.

The spring is always the best time to make this type of change to mowing heights. Prior to the first mowing of the season collars were marked utilizing a custom made stencil on the end of a paint gun. This will provide a consistent 24"collar around each green. Operators will now be able to mow the collar in one pass rather that three or four in instances. Anything inside of the new collar has been scalped to greens height. In some areas we have gained some significant area for pin locations. In addition the back of the third green has been extended significantly and the front of 15 has been re-established as green. Plans are currently being developed to incorporate a more extensive green expansion program that will require sod from our nursery and moving irrigation in some cases.

The ability to distribute wear on a green can reduce the financial and environmental resources required to maintain healthy putting surfaces. Resources such as labor, water, fertilizer and plant protection products can all be reduced with adequate green sizes and pin locations. Putting green health is highly dependent on stresses placed on the plant. As plant stress increases so does the need for additional water, fertilizer and plant protection. Larger greens with a multitude of pin locations, walk on and walk off points tend to preform better then a smaller green that has limited entry points and few pin locations. EndFragment