Golf Course Mowing Patterns: The Ultimate Guide

Golfers everywhere can truly appreciate the beauty of a golf course that has been properly maintained and mowed. Walking up to the tee box, ready to take that first swing of the day, and looking out onto a beautiful, freshly cut fairway can truly enhance the experience for any golfer.

There’s nothing quite like the sight of a perfectly mowed golf course. Different patterns on a golf course create beautiful scenery, but are more than just that. Properly alternating between different patterns and maintaining a consistent mowing schedule can help to create a healthy, beautiful course that golfers are eager to play on.

The Differences Between Golf Course Mowing Patterns

Commonly, golf courses are mowed in a few different patterns: striping, contour, checkered, and classic.


Striping involves, as you may expect, created a striped pattern in the grass. Beautiful to look at and aesthetically pleasing, striping is a common mowing pattern that many courses typically use on their fairways. Striping is typically achieved by using lightweight mowers to mow in a diamond pattern, creating a design that often draws comparisons to a checkerboard.


More traditional than other patterns, the classic cut involves mowing fairways in circles to achieve darker and lighter spots throughout the course. When cutting a classic pattern, most mowers will start from the middle and work their way out in circles. Classic patterns are much simpler options, saving valuable time and energy. 


While contour mowing also produces stripes on a golf course, they’re different from the stripes left by a striping pattern. Contour mowing produces stripes that follow the natural curves of the golf course. This mowing method is usually done on fairways and is created by larger mowers that add direction to a course. 

The Benefits of Alternating Patterns

Healthier for Grass 

Consistently mowing grass in the same pattern can lead to rutting within your grass. As your tires continually mow over the same areas, they’ll often cause trenches that will fill with water and compact nutrients that your grass needs in order to grow and thrive. Alternating your mowing patterns will reduce the likelihood of rutting and give your grass plentiful access to the nutrients it needs to grow as it should. 

Better Looking Grass

Grass that is mowed in the same pattern will, over time, begin to lean the way that it’s being cut. This leads to the grass looking run down and unhealthy. Alternating the pattern will help the grass grow straight up as it’s supposed to. This helps your grass look much healthier than grass that is consistently cut in the same pattern.

Importance of Keeping a Consistent Schedule

To many, a beautifully mowed golf course signals that warmer weather is right around the corner. However, if the golf course superintendent neglects to keep a consistent mowing schedule, it can spell disaster for any golf course. Golf courses need consistent mowing in order to properly control growth, provide smooth surfaces, decrease friction, and more.

Mowing is frequently needed on a golf course, but can vary depending on the area of the golf course. For example, greens need to be mowed at least every three days. Fairways, though, grow longer and should typically be mowed once a week. Rough areas are usually mowed every week and a half or two weeks, depending on the unique course’s needs.

Contact Kenney for Golf Course Mowing Equipment

No matter the golf course mowing needs that your facility has, Kenney Machinery can help. We offer irrigation systems, new and used turf equipment, a variety of mowers, including fairway mowers, and more to help your golf course thrive from tee to green. Get in contact with us for more information or to request a free equipment demo.