I've been reading a lot of advertisements from synthetic turf distributors lately, and I am wondering if there are any regulation 18-hole courses that have synthetic greens. What is the drawback? — via the Internet


There has been a lot of publicity regarding synthetic greens, which are made of a blend of polyethylene and polypropylene. Much better than the original artificial turf, they are being promoted for home putting greens, driving ranges and tee boxes. They claim to be resistant to ultraviolet rays, require no pesticides and are maintained by brushing rather than the traditional means of water and fertilizer, etc. The backing is porous so rainwater filters through it. Currently, there are no regulation 18-hole golf courses with synthetic greens; however, a course in Orlando is experimenting with synthetic cart paths and there are some venues that have installed synthetic tee-boxes. So far, the USGA has no official policy on synthetic greens.



Last year, a respected turfgrass scientist said that allowing tree leaves to accumulate on Midwest lawns will not cause any damage. I own a large lawn care company and I have seen — including on four of my own properties — where leaves were left and when spring/summer arrived, the grass is dead! — via e-mail


I won't respond to the accuracy of the professor's recommendation without seeing or hearing specifically what was said. However, if the lawns from your properties died under accumulated fall leaves, I am not surprised. This does not mean that all fall leaves will kill a lawn. In areas with smaller trees, fewer trees and subsequently fewer leaves, mulching the leaves into the lawn with a mower is adequate. The problem arises when either the leaves are left whole on the lawn or there are too many leaves to filter down effectively into the grass. The leaves on top will block the sun and air movement and prevent excess water from escaping the surface. It can also block precipitation from reaching the soil surface under the leaves, creating a droughty microclimate. In this case, it is healthier for the lawn to remove the leaf litter.

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