Creeping bentrgrass putting greens require intense management due to stoloniferous growth (thatch accumulation) and excessive wear and traffic by equipment and golfers. Increases in thatch and soil compaction are often managed with cultivation practices, which lead to downtime for golfers. Field research was conducted in Knoxville, TN, and Elizabethtown, KY, to compare new and traditional cultivation methods for their impact on playability on creeping bentgrass putting greens. Treatments included air injection, dry sand injection, solid tine cultivation topdressed with sand, hollow tine cultivation topdressed with sand, and non-treated control. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design replicated three times at two locations. As determined 15 minutes after treatments, air injection resulted in the least reduction of green turfgrass cover, no ball roll reduction from the control, and lower reductions in surface firmness compared to other methods tested. Hollow tine had the greatest reduction in green turfgrass cover, lowest ball roll distance, and greatest reductions in surface firmness. Air injection had a lower impact on surface characteristics than hollow or solid cultivation. Because turf cover, ball roll, and firmness can all affect putting green playability, these findings indicate that air injection cultivation has the smallest impact on golfers immediately after a cultivation event.
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