Why Golf Course Grass Looks So Perfect

By: Austin Henderson  | 
Golf ball inches away from being in the hole
Golf greens need plenty of sunlight and good airflow. michaelmjc / Getty Images

Unlike lawn grass across the country that has turned brown and kind of sad, golf courses have perfected the art of pristine landscaping.

If you have ever really looked at the grass on a well-maintained golf green, it is absolutely amazing — it is a flawless surface made out of plants! To make it this perfect takes a lot of work.


In this article, we'll explore more about how golf course grass maintains its luster and the different grass types used.

6 Types of Grass Used in Golf Courses

Golf course grasses require meticulous care and attention to detail to maintain their lush, green appearance. Here are few types of commonly used grasses:

  1. Bermuda grass: This warm-season grass works well in Southern climates because it has excellent heat tolerance and drought resistance. It can also withstand heavy traffic.
  2. Bentgrass: A cool-season grass, bentgrass thrives in the Northeast. Bentgrass demands intensive care, including regular mowing and aeration.
  3. Zoysia grass: A versatile choice, zoysia may technically belong with other warm-season grasses because it does well in extreme heat, but it can also tolerate some cooler weather. It boasts impressive drought tolerance and requires less water than some other grass types.
  4. Rye grass: This type of golf grass can withstand cooler temperatures and continues to grow during the winter months. It is a temporary solution for maintaining green aesthetics during the off-season.
  5. Poa annua grass: While not the most popular choice among golfers, this turf grass germinates quickly, which can be beneficial for overseeding during the winter months to maintain green color on fairways and roughs in cool-season regions.
  6. Fescue grass: This grass requires low maintenance and is disease-resistant, but it also has a few disadvantages, such as not being suited to high-traffic areas.


How Golf Courses Maintain Their Grass

The work starts by creating what is practically a hydroponic system for growing the grass. When constructing the green, a bulldozer creates a 12-inch to 16-inch (30- to 40- cm) deep hole the size of the green.

In the most advanced systems, plastic completely lines this hole before the addition of gravel, drainage pipes and sand. The green's grass grows in a sterile sand medium with perfect drainage The surface is contoured to allow perfect run-off as well, so there is no puddling when it rains.


Where you put the green is also important. It needs plenty of sunlight (preferably full sunlight with no surrounding trees) and good airflow over the green.

Then you choose the perfect grass, depending on location, weather and maintenance.

A sterile sand medium and a good location controls for a huge number of variables, but now the grass is totally dependent on its keepers for life support. That means the grass needs a steady diet of water and nutrients to keep it alive. This mix gets a variety of herbicides (to kill weeds that try to move in), pesticides (to control insect damage) and fungicides (to control disease) to help keep the grass perfect.


Ongoing Care

Once established, you can start on maintenance. This includes daily mowing with a precision green mower, watering, fertilizing, applying chemicals, aerating and general coddling.

If you were willing to do all of this, you too could have a golf green in your front yard — many of the links below will show you just how to do that if you are interested!


This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.