The biggest difference between Bermuda and bentgrass, according to the pros

The biggest difference between Bermuda and bentgrass, according to the pros

HOUSTON – Water throwing is an imperfect science. There are many factors you have to consider when reading a green: slope, wind direction, and even humidity. But arguably the most important factor is one that most amateurs may not think about: the type of grass.

The two most common types of grass for greens are Bentgrass and Bermuda. Benetgrass thrives in cooler climates and is usually seen more in the northern states, while Bermuda loves heat and is more commonly seen in the south. There are many exceptions to this rule, but it’s generally good advice to keep in mind.

Pinegrass and Bermuda may not be easy to differentiate to the untrained eye, but once you know the telltale signs, you’ll be much better equipped to face their unique challenges. At the US Women’s Open this week, the greens were Bermuda, so we asked several of them how they were handling preparations for that instead of Pinegrass. Here’s what they said.

1. Pay attention to the grains

The biggest difference between the two types of grass is that Bermuda has a severe grain (the direction the grass grows) that will affect the break of the putt. Usually, the ball breaks in the direction the grain grows, and if you don’t read the grain correctly, you may be surprised.

“With Bermuda you have to play the grain,” said world number three Nelly Korda. “This is like the bulk of Bermuda. Bent, you’re just playing on the slope.”

2. Focus on color

The color of the grass can tell you a lot about how your ball will react in Bermuda. If the grass looks shiny, it means you are putting down the grain, and the hit will be fast. When it looks dull, you are heading uphill and your shot will be slower.

“I think the Bermuda green is easier to read, but there are more steps,” said Maria Vassi, who is ranked among the top 25 players on the LPGA Tour. “You can get a better idea of ​​what the grass looks like based on the color. It’s easier to notice those things, but you have to make sure you pay attention to all of those things to make sure you get the perfect reading. In Bentgrass, you just trust your eyes.”

3. Feel the green areas

As for Bermuda greens, the areas surrounding the greens are also typically Bermuda. This means that grain will still be a factor, but it will also affect your shots and throws. Putting shots into the grain can seize your club and make it difficult to get the ball to the hole.

“You really have to focus on how the grain affects your cut,” said Cheyenne Knight, who grew up in Texas playing on Bermuda greens. “If you get a little fat, you can really leave it short if it’s in the grain.”

4. Dial your speed

If you are comfortable with all of the above tips, you can start focusing on delays. Longer shots will require all your knowledge of Bermuda, specifically the direction in which the grain grows, in order to consistently secure two easy shots.

“In Bermuda, you definitely have to worry about how the grains grow on the greens,” said Rose Chang, the U.S. Women’s Amateur champion. “I think overall it’s just a matter of feeling the speed of the greens that way too. It’s definitely very different from the way Bentgrass rolls.

For more help on the greens, check out the green books from our sister company GolfLogix. Their green books can be accessed from your phone and will save you strokes. Download the app today!

Milton exhaled

Editor of
Zephyr Melton is Assistant Editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Before joining GOLF, he attended the University of Texas, then made stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, Green Bay Packers, and the PGA Tour. He helps with all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at

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