The Superintendent's Guide to Controlling PuttingGreen Speed
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More About This Title The Superintendent's Guide to Controlling PuttingGreen Speed


Let renowned expert Thomas Nikolai bring you up to speed on establishing and maintaining the best green speeds for your course. He covers it all: playability, environmental and weather factors, mowing, turfgrass species selection... every consideration that influences how fast and how far a given putt will go. Dr. Nikolai -- turfgrass academic specialist at Michigan State and green speed specialist for The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America -- distills a wealth of research and first-hand experience into easy-to-follow advice on how to deal with the common problems associated with green speed, techniques on how to find the ideal speed for your greens, and the correct use of current technology, including the Stimpmeter. His non-technical language makes the information accessible whether you're a golf course superintendent or a student. Order your copy today.


THOMAS A. NIKOLAI, PhD, is the Turfgrass Academic Specialist at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. He is also a faculty member of The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) specializing in green speed management issues. He spent ten years working on golf courses and ten years working as a turfgrass research technician studying such topics as fertilization, topdressing, lightweight green rolling, cultivation techniques, PGR’s, mowing heights, wetting agents, leaf mulching, irrigation scheduling, putting green root zone mixes, and alternative spikes.




1.Problems Associated with Green Speed.

What Is Green Speed?

The Best Laid Plans.

Researcher–Superintendent Communication Problems.

Whose Golf Course Is It Anyway?

2.The History of Measuring Green Speed.

The Development of the Stimpmeter.

New Technology.

3.Using the Stimpmeter for Its Intended Purpose: Creating the Ideal Green Speed.

Twenty-Five-Year Anniversary.


Uniformity 1.

Uniformity 2.

The Two Directives.

Directive 1.

Directive 2.

The Morris Method.

An Ideal Green Speed: What’s in It for You?

Putting It All Together.

4.The Weather: The Known Unknown in the Quest for the Ideal Green Speed.

Controlling the Weather.

Seasonal Variability.

Diurnal Variability.

Rain, Wind, Temperature, and Humidity.

Conclusions about Weather and Green Speed.

5.Putting Green Root Zones.

Putting Green Root Zone History.

The Effects of Root Zone on Green Speed.

Root Zones and Management Practices.

6.Turfgrass Species and Green Speed.

The Birth of Golf Turf Research.

Early Perceptions of Green Speed on Various Turfgrass Species.

Current Research with Putting Green Turf Species.

Conclusions about Turfgrass Species.

7.Mowing Height.

History of Putting Green Mowing Height.

The Law of Diminishing Returns.

Mower Height versus Height of Cut.

Mower Types.

Mower Type–Green Speed Study.

Double Cutting.

Conclusions about Mowing and Green Speed.

8.Fertilization and Green Speed.

The Importance of Fertilizing.

Nitrogen as a Fertilizer.

Recent History of Nitrogen Fertilization on Greens.

Nitrogen and Green Speed.

Annual Nitrogen Rate and the “4-inch Theory”.

Root Zone–Nitrogen Rate Interactions.

Nitrogen Frequency and Its Effect on Green Speed.

Fast-Release versus Slow-Release Nitrogen Carriers.

Monthly Applications of Nitrogen and Plant Growth Regulators.

A Comparison of Liquid Nitrogen Programs.

Monthly Applications versus Granular Spoon-Feeding.

Ultralow Nitrogen Rates to Enhance Green Speed.

Conclusions about Nitrogen and Green Speed.

Potassium Fertilization on the Golf Course.

Potassium and Green Speed.



Conclusions Regarding Fertilization and Green Speed.

9Lightweight Rolling: A Most Vexing Practice for Many Superintendents.

History of Rolling.

In Search of a Safe Frequency for Lightweight Rolling.

Lightweight Rollers and Green Speed.

Research on Various Types of Lightweight Rollers.

Lightweight Rolling and Turfgrass Pests.

Dollar Spot.

Moss and Broadleaf Weeds.


Localized Dry Spot.

Snow Mold.

Conclusions about Lightweight Rolling.

10.An Integrated Approach to Green Speed Management and Tournament Preparation.

The Scenario.



Vertical Mowing and Grooming.

Water and Air Injection Cultivation.

Plant Growth Regulators.


Tournament Preparation.

Sand Topdressing.

Nitrogen Fertilization.

Mowing Height Reduction.

Double Cutting.


Rolling and Double Cutting.


Pin Placement.

11.Filling in the Missing Pieces.

To Green Committee and Owners.

To the Superintendent.