Traditionally, a superintendent wanting to increase ball speed would likely lower the height of cut, double-cut the grass, and/or use a greens roller. Not only do these practices cause extra stress on the grass and sacrifice turf health, but they also require the use of more labour, water, and chemicals. A superintendent preparing for a tournament can tighten his frequency-of-clip (FOC) significantly to increase ball roll without lowering the height of cut.
“For an upcoming tournament, I wanted to increase our green speeds by 76 to 102 mm (3 to 4 in.), but I wasn’t keen on lowering the height of cut and we didn’t have the time to double-cut,” says Mike Rienzi, superintendent in Gulf Shores, Ala. “My technician suggested we tighten up the FOC on our walkers. I watched him do it, and it only took about five seconds. We went and used Stimpmeter readings for the greens after mowing and we found we actually increased green speed by more than 102 mm. I was floored at how easy and effective FOC adjustment can be.”
In daily conditions, superintendents can adjust FOC to maintain current ball speed and actually raise the height of cut. Trevor Broersma, superintendent at Washington National Golf Club outside of Seattle, started experimenting with FOC adjustments in early 2012.
“By playing around with the frequency-of-clip on our walking greens mowers, we were able to raise our height of cut from 2.921 to 3.33 mm (0.115 to 0.130 in.) and still maintain a 3.4-m [11-ft] roll on our greens,” he says. “We also found that with the higher clip rate, we don’t have to mow every day. We are now rolling every other day, which is giving us the most consistent speeds we’ve ever had.”
Read the full article: A Closer Look at Frequency-of-Clip