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Measuring and tracking grass clippings

Bucket
Many golf courses in Japan track the volume of clippings mown off putting greens using this simple technique. A plastic bucket is brought along on the mowing runs, the clippings are placed in the bucket, the bucket is shaken to allow the clippings to settle, and the volume of the clippings is recorded.

Bucket_empty

This information can be useful to check, track, and improve the management of putting greens, For example, the data can be used to:

  • ensure that all mowers are set up the same way
  • measure the effect of fertilizer applications
  • measure the influence of growth regulators
  • evaluate the effect of weather and maintenance practices on growth
  • track clipping yield for special events

Interview

Andrew McDaniel is the golf course superintendent at Keya GC in Fukuoka, where the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) holds the KBC Augusta tournament. Leading up to the tournament, the clipping volume of the korai (Zoysia matrella) greens was generally more than 20 L per day per green with a single cut. Today, on the Wednesday of tournament week, a double cut of the greens is collecting about 5 L of clippings per green. The progression to the tournament target clipping volume has been monitored carefully.

2mower

He also used brushes on the mowers in the lead up to the tournament. When two mowers were used on the same green, each mowing the green once, the mower with the brush collected about twice as many clippings as the mower without the brush. 

For an even more detailed look at clipping production over time, and different ways I've seen it measured, see my report on clipping yield from putting greens.

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