Spike Marks, Scuff Marks, and Pitch Marks, Oh My! The 2 Most Common Causes of Damage to Putting Green Grass

Hank Kerfoot - Thursday, August 15, 2013

Find out what besides those terrible golf shoes is tearing up the putting green.

Most Common Causes of Damage to Putting Green Grass

Putting green grass is some of the most beautiful, soft, and tender grass on a course. It’s easily damaged, and probably causes the course superintendent the most headaches.

If you love golf, the last thing you want to do is cause damage to the putting green on a favorite course. Other than roughness from golfers, here are the other two major causes of damage.

1: Animals, especially deer, can cause significant damage to a putting green.
The putting green is often created using soft sandy soil and short grass. A deer walking across the putting green can leave impressions in the softer soil, causing interference with golf balls that cross their tracks.

Animals such as moles or voles can also cause significant damage to the putting green. Anything that mars the surface can cause interference with how a golf ball rolls across the surface. Geese are another problem. They feed on green grass in the winter months and can cause damage to the entire golf course.

2: Weed Infestation (poa annua) and grain production also cause issues with putting greens.

This is one of the reasons why many golf courses have moved away from Bermuda grass to bent grass. Bermuda grass is a grain producer, and that can cause the overall game on a putting green to slow down. Weed infestations are also common; poa annua, for instance, is the bane of groundskeepers. This weed can cause significant interference to how a ball moves along the green.

Given the sensitivity of the green, it is no wonder that human impact is the worst. Spike marks, scuff marks, and pitch marks are common problems that damage putting green grass. Good technique and proper shoes can help avoid these problems.

If you’re in charge of a golf course putting green, Modern Turf is your resource for advice and top-notch turf. Contact us today with your questions and needs.