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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Articles

Golf Ball Roll Distance: A Field Exercise to Explore Management Factors Affecting Putting Green Speed


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 36 No. 1, p. 112-119
    Received: Aug 10, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): cbigelow@purdue.edu
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  1. Cale A. Bigelow * and
  2. Kristina S. Walker
  1. Department of Agronomy, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907


Putting greens are the most important golf course use area and regularly draw comments regarding their appearance and playing condition. This field laboratory exercise taught students how to properly measure putting green speed, an important functional characteristic, using a Stimpmeter device that measures golf ball roll distance (BRD). Additionally, students determined the effects of various cultural practices affecting BRD such as creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L. var palustris (Huds.) Farw.] cultivar differences and six management practices: mowing equipment (a triplex mower vs. a walk mower both set at the same mowing height), mowing frequency (single vs. double cutting with a walk mower), mowing plus rolling (using a water-filled roller) on a research putting green. The effectiveness of this exercise was determined using pre- and post-exercise surveys for two contrasting student populations, high school level students and junior/senior level undergraduates enrolled in turfgrass science. As expected, the less experienced high school students gained the most knowledge overall. Both populations, however, greatly improved their understanding regarding Stimpmeter operation with 100% of both populations agreeing that they could properly operate the device. Additionally, >72% of both groups agreed that this exercise was meaningful and bettered their understanding of putting green maintenance. Therefore, this laboratory exercise appears suitable for teaching students about general putting green maintenance practices and measuring green speed, regardless of whether or not they are interested in a career in golf course management.

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