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How to cut a golf green's grass

Updated April 17, 2017

Most golfers have little to no knowledge of the care needed to keep a golf course in excellent playing condition. The one part of the golf course that receives most scrutiny is the greens. Beyond the type of grass used, and the contouring of the green, the practice that can most affect the performance of a golf green is the mowing. Most golf courses mow their greens daily, and the process of mowing a golf green is more complex then mowing your garden lawn.

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  1. Decide on the pattern to mow the green. The most common patterns are front to back, right to left, left to right, and side to side. The pattern direction is determined by the relevance to the fairway. So a right to left pattern would start at the right corner of the fairway end of the green and travel towards the left back of the green.

  2. Position the mower at the bottom right corner of the green. Keep the mower front off the ground when the reel is engaged. Begin walking the mower towards the back left corner of the green, and place the front of the mower on the ground when it's fully on the green.

  3. Lift the front of the mower off the ground when the mower reaches the back left corner of the green. Make a 180-degree turn and go back to the green.

  4. Position the mower so that the cutting reel overlaps the first cut by 7.5 cm (3 inches). Walk the mower towards the bottom right corner of the green, and place the mower front back down when the mower is fully on the green. Continue this process, basically zig-zagging across the green. When the first half is complete, repeat the process for the second half of the green.

  5. Position the mower along the edge of the green. Cut a pass around the green following the edge of the green. When the first pass is done, make a second pass inside the first going in the opposite direction. Make as many passes as necessary to cover the ends of all passes -- usually two or three.

  6. Tip

    Rotate the mowing patterns every day.

    Remember to empty the basket when full, because a full basket will change the cutting height of the mower.


    If the green is exceptionally long, don't cut to the right height in one cutting. Step the height down until the desired height is reached.

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Things You'll Need

  • Powered reel-type mower
  • Catch basket for the mower

About the Author

Michael Rippetoe has been writing for 15 years, and has recently decided to make it his career. He has been a journeyman carpenter, ASE Master Mechanic, certified irrigation professional and currently writes for this site, designs websites, and does professional photography. Rippetoe's articles appear on eHow, Garden Guides, AnswerBag and others.

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