How Golf Course Maintenance Varies Between Continents and Climates

April 11, 2024

Are you curious about how other countries or states care for their turf? Do you want to learn different techniques for maintaining your golf course? Here’s a quick rundown of how golf course maintenance varies across different climates worldwide.

How Weather and Climate Affects Golf Course Turf

Two of the biggest factors that golf course superintendents focus on in turf maintenance are the local climate and the grass type. Golf course managers rely on the climate to determine the correct type of turf to grow. In turn, they customize their turf maintenance techniques according to their turf type and the conditions they need to thrive.

Cool-season grasses such as bentgrass and ryegrass are common in Europe, North America, and Northeast Asia. These grasses perform well in cooler climates with moderate rainfall. On the other hand, warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass are more suited for subtropical regions.

Planting the wrong type of grass in a particular climate can result in poor turf quality and damage to the course. At the same time, incorrect turf maintenance techniques could also damage the turf even if you plant the right one in the right environment.

How Different Cities and Countries Maintain Their Turf

Different climates require different turf maintenance techniques. Here are some examples of how different cities and countries maintain their golf courses.

Temperate Climate

Turf maintenance in areas with temperate climates is relatively easy (no eye rolls please). Most golf courses in a mild climate use cool-season grasses like bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass. These grass types require regular fertilization, aeration, and irrigation to keep them healthy.

Superintendents also regularly mow the greens shorter during colder months, keeping pests away and promoting growth when spring comes. During summer, they allow the grass to grow longer for better heat tolerance. Temperate regions also experience moderate rainfall, so watering is less crucial than in areas with extreme weather.

Hot and Humid Climate

Tropical countries and even certain states in the U.S. fall under this category. These areas experience high humidity and intense heat, making it challenging to maintain optimal turf health. Warm-season grasses are more suitable for this climate since they can withstand the heat and moisture better.

In Florida, where the weather is hot and humid year-round, golf courses use Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass as their primary turf. They also incorporate frequent dethatching and topdressing in their maintenance routine to promote air and water circulation in the turf.

Hot and Arid Climate

Australia is a good example of a country with a hot and dry climate, where many golf courses use warm-season grasses like couch grass and Kikuyu grass. These grass types are drought-resistant and can tolerate extreme heat.

Drought is the biggest problem in maintaining turf in hot and arid climates. Superintendents use specialized irrigation systems, watering at night to minimize water evaporation from the intense heat during the day. They may also call to rehabilitate the turf during droughts to ensure it remains healthy.

Cold and Frosty Climate

Countries around northern Europe, Canada, and the northern U.S. experience colder climates than their southern counterparts. Superintendents maintain turf health by planting cold-season grass types like ryegrass and fescue grass.

In colder regions, golf courses close down during winter, but it doesn’t mean turf maintenance stops. Superintendents often use winter covers to protect the turf from snow and frost and also continue with necessary maintenance activities like monitoring moisture levels and clearing the snow.