There are certain characteristics desirable in golf course grasses. The turf should be strong--able to stand up to heavy foot traffic--according to information published by Modern Turf. It should remain green even through the winter months, and it should be resistant to insect pests and diseases. These qualities can be found in both warm and cold-season grasses, four of which are commonly used as golf grass.
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is a very low-maintenance, cool-climate grass. The coarse texture and minimum height requirement (2 to 3 inches) of the grass means it is limited for use on fairways and in the rough on a golf course. Kentucky bluegrass grows very well in the shade, which makes it desirable for golf courses that have a lot of trees. It requires consistently moist soil and frequent fertilization, which helps it remain lushly green year-round.
Zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.) is a warm-climate grass that is widely used on athletic fields, including golf courses. This grass is desirable for its ability to tolerate drought conditions as well as very hot weather, but it grows best if the soil is kept continuously moist, according to information published by Purdue University. Zoysiagrass is slow growing, taking up to three years to become fully established, but that also means it requires less mowing, a fact that many golf course owners love.
This cool-season turf is used mainly on golf courses in the northeastern part of the United States, where winters feature frequent snowfall. The snow requires that the grass be cut very short, as grass that is bent over and matted by snow will become damaged. Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris) will tolerate short cuttings very well and has a fine texture that creates a silky look to the golf course and crowds out weeds. The downfall of this grass is that it needs a lot of watering and fertilizing in order to thrive. Creeping bentgrass is not a low-maintenance grass.
Bermudagrass (Bermuda spp.) is a popular warm-climate grass. It has a fine texture, can be clipped very short and is drought resistant, making it the perfect choice for greens. This grass does go dormant during the winter (turns brown), so the seeds are often mixed with ryegrass seeds, which will stay green through the winter.