Bush Hill Park

Course Update

It’s been a very busy period with lots going on, and the big task of preparing the course for a Pro-am and two captain’s days in the space of four days!

With a man down leaving only four, we worked tirelessly to make up the shortfall and prepared the course on each of these days to a very high standard, and I thank my team for the very early starts and late finishes to achieve this.

The recent wet weather has helped keep the course lush and green, but has increased our workload in keeping growth in check, meaning many surfaces needing multiple cuts per week.


Green speed is commonly at the top of many golf clubs agendas with a common cry of “We want faster greens” that can put pressure on turf managers.

Speed of the greens is measured by using a stimp-metre which is a device used by applying a known velocity to a golf ball, and measuring the distance travelled in feet.

The average speed on a putting green is usually around 9 feet, rising to 10-12 feet at the faster end of the scale.

At Bush Hill Park we average 9.3-9.5 and for major competitions 10.2-10.5

What are the key factors affecting green speed?

Slower Faster
Rainfall Dry Conditions
Infrequent Mowing Firm Surfaces
Strong Growth Regular Mowing
Density of Sward Lower Heights of Cut
Soft Surface Rolling


The majority of our greens are relatively flat and do not have the advantage of natural contours that can generate speed, so we have to carry out regular cultural practices to make up for this. (Verti-cutting, Top dressing)

One of the key factors for faster greens is by rolling, which is an easy and popular way of firming the surface which encourages a smoother and faster roll of the ball.

The machine for this task is called a Turfing Iron which many other clubs use, and something I have tested this week on our greens.

Before using the machine we stimp-metred a number of greens as a benchmark, this recorded 9.1-9.3. After just one pass with the turfing iron the readings jumped to 10.1-10.3, double rolling recorded 10.6.

The results have been impressive, although excessive use should be avoided to avoid compaction. But managed sensibly this could be a very useful tool in conjunction with other practices to increase green speed.

More research is needed on other makes and models, and I’m in the process of booking other demonstrators for us to trial before a possible decision on a purchase.

Practice green

We had planned to open this green in June, but unfortunately this has been put back to allow more time for the slow process of reducing the height of cut.

We are currently cutting the green at 4.5mm (target 3.5), but we are finding the mower is scalping areas where the surface is not level so extra dressing is needed to smooth out any imperfections.

When growing-in a new green, many tons of dressing are needed to create a level surface to allow low heights of cut to be achieved.

We are now at a critical stage of reaching our goal, and just need a little more time and good weather to finish the project.

Thank you for your patience.

Finally, I’m planning to organise divot evening to repair divots on fairways and tees which I hope members could volunteer their time.

All you need is a bucket, seed and soil will be provided.

The course will definitely benefit, and will be a bit of fun should you wish to stay for a drink after.

Date to be confirmed

Graham Careford

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