March 27th, 2012 by Tyler Pringle
There are a number of types of grasses used on golf courses and most people don’t realize the affect it has on how the game is played. Bermuda, particularly on greens, is no exception. Bermuda grows exceptionally well in areas of high heat, which is why it is found primarily in the southern parts of the United States like Atlanta. It’s also a very durable grass which makes it a favorite for sporting fields as well. Additionally, it repairs rather easily and is able to take the beating from golf clubs and pitch marks.
Putting on Bermuda can be rather tricky for those who don’t normally play on it. Unlike Bent Grass, which is known for rolling putts on a very true line, the grain of Bermuda grass can have a large affect on how the ball rolls.
Even on flat putts, the grain of the grass will influence the ball. There is a tendency for the golf ball to break towards the direction the grain grows. There are a couple of methods to establish which direction the grain is growing. If the grass appears a dull, dark green, the grain is likely growing toward you. If the grass looks shiny and light green, it is likely growing away from you.
another simple method is to look at the cup itself. You should notice that one side of the cup looks rough and slightly beaten up, while the other is crisp and sharp. The side that looks to be a bit more worn is the side of the direction the grass is growing. Putts for the most part will be influenced to this side. Additionally, you’ll be able to notice the subtle break from the grass as the ball slows down and completes it’s last few rolls.
Besides knowing where your putt will break, it is equally important to understand how the grain will affect the speed of you putt. If you are putting into the grain, or into dull looking grass or toward the rough edge of the cup, the putt will be significantly slower. This will certainly take some getting used to. A 10 ft putt might have to be hit with the same force as a 13 foot putt if it is into the grain. On the contrary, putts that head in the direction with the grain will be much quicker.
In order to be successful putting on Bermuda, read the greens as you normally would and take into account the elevation changes and slopes. Then factor in the direction the grass grows. A normal uphill putt will have to be hit harder to get to the hole. Compound that with hitting into the grain, and now you’ve got to smash the ball to give it a chance to go in. Again, the opposite goes for downhill putts with the grain.
By paying close attention to the direction Bermuda grass grows, we think you’ll be able to make a few more putts during your next round. Feel free to share your own tips and let us know your thoughts for putting on Bermuda.