What Are 'Double Cut' Greens in Golf, and Why Do It?

Sometimes a golf course will double-cut its putting greens. What does that mean? Well, it means exactly what it sounds like: cutting (mowing) the putting greens twice as often as normal. Which is to say: mowing the greens twice in the same day rather than just once.

The question is, why? Why — under what circumstances — would a golf course employ double-cutting of its greens? Mowing too much, after all, can severely damage greens in several ways, including by simply subjecting the grass to too much stress.

The most common reason to double cut golf greens is to prepare a golf course for hosting a tournament. Most golf clubs want their course's greens rolling fast for tournament play. Double-cutting can accomplish that — but not immediately.

Simply mowing the greens once in the morning and once again in the evening does not immediately increase speed. But double-cutting over the course of multiple days, beginning a few days prior to a tournament, does have a cumulative effect that helps lead to faster green speeds.

Such double-cutting (like regular once-a-day mowing) is accompanied by rolling the greens, and together mowing and rolling (done correctly, of course) produce smooth, fast putting surfaces, depending on how high or low the grass is being cut.

Because double-cutting increases the stress on the turfgrass, and reduces the margin of error in terms of keeping the grass healthy, most superintendents stay away from double-cutting for more than a week or two weeks in a row. That's another reason double-cut greens are most associated with tournament preparation.

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