Do wetting agents influence golf ball roll distance?

Travis Wayne Shaddox, Joseph Bryan Unruh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Wetting agents are commonly applied to golf putting greens to manage soil moisture. Speculation has arisen regarding the influence of wetting agents on golf ball roll distance. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of wetting agents on golf ball roll distance, putting green surface firmness, and volumetric water content in sand-based putting greens. This study was conducted during the 2018 growing season in Jay, FL and Ft. Lauderdale, FL on ‘TifEagle’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis) putting greens. Treatments were applied to plots (2 x 3 m) in a randomized complete block design using four replications, and included seven wetting agents and an untreated turfgrass control. The study area was irrigated at 80% of the previous week’s reference evapotranspiration. Ball roll distance, firmness, and volumetric water content (VWC) were recorded weekly and pooled by month. Wetting agents did not lead to an increase in ball roll distance, firmness, or VWC during any month in Jay or Ft. Lauderdale. Inversely, in Jay, polyoxyalkylene polymer resulted in decreased surface firmness during October and November compared with untreated turfgrass. VWC was reduced as a result of some wetting agents in Ft. Lauderdale in February, September, November, and December, and resulted in no influence on VWC in Jay. The coefficients of determination of surface firmness and ball roll distance in Jay and Ft. Lauderdale were significant (P < 0.001) and were 0.12 and 0.08, respectively. This indicates that ball roll distance can increase as surfaces become firmer. However, this study found no evidence that wetting agents increase ball roll distance on sand-based putting greens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-410
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, American Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.


  • Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis
  • Firmness
  • Putting green
  • Turfgrass
  • ‘TifEagle’ hybrid bermudagrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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