Global Edition

STRI opens door to ‘fine turf heaven‘

1.00am 13th February 2006 - People

The secret of establishing the finer grasses within putting greens is finally revealed. In his latest article “Changing the Nature of your Greens” Henry Bechelet shows what it takes to get the bents and fescues to thrive and dominate in modern golf greens. Henry is the STRI Turfgrass Agronomist for Eastern England and this groundbreaking article is freely available at the home page.
The article comes from a completely new ecological perspective. It makes the reader understand that it is the nature of the environment that controls the composition of the sward. The role of the greenkeeper is to understand and control the environmental pressures to set the conditions for the finer grasses to flourish. As he says right at the start, “If you can see how nature works you may become a better part of it”.
Henry is very keen to have feedback from this article. You can contact him at

Extracts from “Changing The Nature Of Your Greens”

This groundbreaking article is about favouring the development of the finer grasses in modern golf greens. It comes from a completely new ecological perspective and makes the reader understand that the nature of the environment controls the composition of the sward. It shows how to positively select the bents and fescues by using environmental pressures.
The key points are…

  • The vegetation that develops in any place at a particular time is governed by environmental pressures (stress, disturbance and competition).
  • Each turfgrass species is adapted to survive in slightly different environmental conditions.
  • The correct conditions must be created for the desired grasses to flourish.
  • Undesirable grasses may be excluded by using beneficial stress against them.
  • The greenkeeper must use all treatments to set the correct environmental conditions.
  • The level of disturbance should be minimised to favour the bents and fescues grasses and then controlled stress used as a beneficial selection pressure against annual meadow grass. 
  • The site characteristics will place limitations on how far you can go, but I am sure that with considerate management 90% of UK golf greens can support a fine grass dominated sward. 
  • “If you can see how nature works you may become a better part of it.” 

The article has been posted on and it might change the future of greenkeeping. Look out for related follow-up articles in the near future.


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