Preventing After Cut Appearance Issues During Tournament Time

Over the years working a few tournaments and trying to dial in my processes to steadily improve how we do things I figured this week I would share one of the things I have done the last 10 years or so that has really helped us prevent seeing dreaded after cut appearance issues during your most important tournaments.

One of the things that we all do as we are preparing for a major tournament whether it’s PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, or a Club Championship is dial up the frequency of our mowing. For those doing a tour event you try to dial everything in during advanced week (the week before the actual event) or prior to get a gauge on what your speeds will be and overall how the course is handling the number of cuts, the heights, and all the settings the machines are set to. So for some of us that means over the next 2 weeks the fairways, tees, approaches and greens get cut at least once daily and sometimes as you get into that second week you can start seeing things show up in the after cut appearance after all that mowing.

What I have done the last 10 years or so is try to reach below our target height of cut at least 3-4 weeks out from the tournament. So as an example for the Diamond Resorts Invitational this year our target height on fairways, tees and approaches is going to be .375. So prior to the event our goal is to have our heights dialed in to .350. We will run those heights through advanced week and as tournament week gets here we actually raise the height to our targeted height of .375. There are quite a few reasons I like to do this and here are a few:

  • By raising the height above the lowest we have mowed we don’t have the bedknife riding along the ground and gouging areas because we would have smoothed those out weeks before the event.
  • We are also able to cut minimal amounts of grass off during the week which as all techs know always gives you a better look than trying to plow through tons of grass. While frequency certainly helps you never know when you will get rain and it will be to wet or the fertilizer decides to kick in.
  • We also avoid the catching a bedknife on a drain or sprinkler head issues that seems to always happen when you are at your lowest heights of cut.

So I do this process with everything as well as greens mowers where we know what height we are targeting I will try to go below that before we get to the event so we can essentially smooth the surface out so nothing shows up during Showtime. Figured this would be a great tip to share as this is typically something I talk about in one of my seminars that guys normally come up and say I never thought of that.

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  1. Matt
    September 27, 04:53 Reply

    This is one of those simple but genius ideas that I ask myself “Why didn’t I think of that?!?” Especially when at the end of the summer I start raising the HOC to prepare for the amount of traffic we get on dormant grass….So by the end of Feb, the course doesn’t turn into dirt! The weeks following raising HOC everyone raves about the course conditions. In hind sight, that should have been a clue for me to start doing what your saying! Thanks for the tip Stephen! Keep up the good work with the great blogs!

    • admin
      September 27, 05:33 Reply

      Thanks Matt glad it got you thinking.

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