With increased rounds at many golf courses, divot recovery on tees was a frequent talking point during Course Consulting Service visits in 2023. A common divot recovery strategy is to include chewings fescue seed in the divot mix, but if tees are being renovated, converting them to low-mow bluegrass is an option worth considering.
Generally speaking, Kentucky bluegrass is slower to establish from seed than creeping bentgrass. However, when a divot is taken on a low-mow bluegrass playing surface, improved divot recovery is realized thanks to belowground rhizomes. It is as though the turf has been scalped, rather than having an entire pelt taken like a divot on creeping bentgrass. Divots on low-mow bluegrass playing surfaces recover faster because the turf can grow laterally from the edge of the divot and vertically from the underground rhizomes.
An added benefit of low-mow bluegrass tees is that improved varieties require less inputs – especially fungicides – when compared to older creeping bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass varieties. Frankfort Country Club in Kentucky is one example of a facility that observed significant savings after their tees and fairways were converted to low-mow bluegrass. These savings can be redirected to other areas within the golf course maintenance budget.
If divot recovery on tees is an area you’d like to improve, consider converting to low-mow bluegrass. If major renovation work is planned, all tees could be converted at the same time. It is also possible to strategically convert tees over multiple years so golfers are minimally inconvenienced. For more information on converting tees to low-mow bluegrass, reach out to your regional USGA agronomist.
Central Region Agronomists:
Zach Nicoludis, regional director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Jacobs, agronomist – email@example.com
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section Staff