This, our second article aims to investigate the relationship between the amount of organic matter in greens and the age of the greens. We hope this helps provide added perspective for managing your greens and provides an insight for members within your clubs.

The management of organic matter is one of the more complex maintenance and renovation tasks for Course Managers around the world, due to its immediate conflict to presenting smooth and fast putting surfaces.

European Turfgrass Laboratories (ETL) annually tests organic matter at 20mm segments for hundreds of golf courses all over the world, from over thousands of individual greens, from a variety of venues including courses with push-up greens, links style and USGA-type golf greens of all ages. This data helps Course Managers communicate better with their stakeholders and make more informed decisions.

In 2019 we reached out to our customers with a set of questionnaires relating greens circumstances, maintenance, renovation and construction to the amounts of organic matter measured. Due to the positive response we were able provide additional context for Course Managers and clubs.

At ETL, we were eager to establish whether organic matter in golf greens modified with their age as a general trend. For ease of self categorisation Course Managers put greens into the one of the following categories which included individual greens from numerous courses:

Summary of the relationship between the age of golf greens and levels of organic matter at all depths of the profile:

  • Overall, it can be safely concluded that as greens age, generally they accumulate increasing organic matter levels.
  • Whether this remains a trend which can be slowed or even prevented is not concluded within this research element but is an interesting discussion point.
  • Organic matter appears to increase at all depths in line with an increase in age of greens tested.
  • Of all the research concluded by ETL, the strength of the relationship in this aspect certainly intimates that as greens age, Course Managers must work significantly harder to buck the trend of increasing organic matter content.

Understanding why organic matter increases with the age of greens as a general trend needs to be considered both in agronomic and circumstantial terms.

  • Courses limited in resources will tend to have older greens which have not been heavily renovated or reconstructed in recent years or decades, and as such are older.
  • As outlined in our previous article looking at sand volumes, courses with older greens will tend to have lower resource and don’t necessarily prioritise (or can’t afford) to apply sufficient sand volumes to greens.
  • Older greens will tend to be more dominated by ‘soil style push-up’ greens of variations of which will generally have slower drainage, leading to quicker rates of organic matter accumulation due to being wetter for longer in the year.
  • As greens start to accumulate organic matter and it is not adequately controlled or diluted in earlier years, in most circumstances this starts to result in more moisture retentive upper profiles. Where greens, especially in countries that experience a winter build excessive organic matter, they sit wetter for longer often becoming anaerobic. This environment limits and slows natural degradation of organic matter, meaning a quicker build-up of it within older greens.

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Relating Greens Organic Matter (LOI) to the Age of Golf Greens

This, our second article aims to investigate the relationship between the amount of organic matter in greens and the age of the greens. We hope this helps provide added perspective for managing your greens and provides an insight for members within your clubs.

The management of organic matter is one of the more complex maintenance and renovation tasks for Course Managers around the world, due to its immediate conflict to presenting smooth and fast putting surfaces.

European Turfgrass Laboratories (ETL) annually tests organic matter at 20mm segments for hundreds of golf courses all over the world, from over thousands of individual greens, from a variety of venues including courses with push-up greens, links style and USGA-type golf greens of all ages. This data helps Course Managers communicate better with their stakeholders and make more informed decisions. Read more

Relating Greens Organic Matter (LOI) to the Amounts of Sand Applied

The management of organic matter is one of the more complex maintenance and renovation tasks for Course Managers around the world, due to its immediate conflict presenting smooth and fast putting surfaces.

European Turfgrass Laboratories (ETL) tests organic matter at 20mm segments for hundreds of golf courses annually, from over thousands of individual greens from local authority low budget courses to the world best championship courses. This data helps Course Manager communicate better with its stakeholders and make more informed decisions. Read more…

Organic Matter Testing #3

In this, our third article on organic matter, agronomist, Charles Henderson will cover the complex subject of its reduction. Organic matter, in general, is on the increase. Therefore, this makes the reduction of organic matter in greens, relevant to over 90% of us who are involved in managing golf (and bowling) greens, an extremely important subject. Read More.

Organic Matter Testing #2

In part two of our organic matter series, Charles Henderson discusses the relationship between moisture content and the organic matter accumulation in our greens. We will also look at how this affects some of the management decisions we make when trying to manage both moisture and organic matter content in our greens. Read full article

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