Often times, less friction is created when we have less grass growth, and that's what's really keeping the greens rolling right now. We made our first spray application of plant growth regulators (to help prevent Poa seedhead formation on the greens) over two weeks ago. As the name "plant growth regulator" implies, this is certainly one way to keep turf growth in check.
A second contributing factor to the current green speeds, and lack of growth, would be something that we haven't done: Fertilize. No fertilizer has been applied to the greens this year, and it's been two years since any granular fertilizer was used on the greens. Instead, all of our fertilization is now made through liquid applications.
With sand-based greens that have limited nutrient holding capacity, the difference between an area which has been fertilized and has not, can be dramatic. Often times, we will create check plots on a green to see the impact of any inputs. However, in this case, a heron provided the check plot for us on #11 green, by providing a good dose of fertilizer, and really puts things in perspective.
We switched to a strictly liquid fertilization program for the greens because of the control it gives us in feeding them. This helps us avoid peaks and valleys in growth which can occur when using granular products. The greens are clearly quite lean, and we'll give them a "light snack" this week...along with their second application of growth regulators.