by Caledon Country Club Course Superintendent Leo Daigle
Watching this year’s Masters tournament I couldn’t help but notice how gingerly the pros were putting. Even the eventual winner, Zack Johnson, 3 putted from two and a half feet on the 16th hole in the 3rd round. Time and time again we witnessed seemingly simple two and three-foot putts break sharply and trickle on by the hole.
Super fast, undulating greens are meant to challenge the world’s best!
As a result, the players spent considerable time seriously studying and calculating the precise placement of every drive, approach shot and putt. Those magnificent greens presented an extreme challenge to the world’s best and most skillful golfers – and that’s what they were meant to do!
To the majority of people who play this wonderful sport however, golf is entertainment, and entertainment is meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience. Golf played on super fast greens may be entertaining to watch but not so entertaining to play.
Super Fast Greens Effect Every Aspect of Every Shot
From the drives to the approach shots, super fast greens effect every aspect of every shot in a round, not just the putting. It could be as subtle as simply landing the ball on the wrong side of the fairway or the pin thereby assuring extra strokes to the scorecard. That’s not entertaining; it’s exhausting, frustrating, draining and extremely time consuming.
How Green Speeds Effect Play
Increased green speeds lead to reduced pin locations and increased scrutiny of the acceptability of the limited pin locations. Reduced pin locations lead to more concentrated traffic and extreme wear and thinning of the greens. Frustration increases as a result from slower play.
Shorter greens mean increased maintenance. Shorter grass has less leaf surface for photosynthesis and the storage of carbohydrate reserves thereby stressing the plant and leaving it susceptible to diseases, heat stress, drought stress, insects, compaction and wear. All of these can be addressed with more aerification, more fungicides, more overseeding, more fertilizer, more verticutting, more topdressing and thus more labour – all of which cause more disruptions that cost more time and money.
At Caledon Country Club our goal is to have fast, smooth greens that everyone can enjoy and play at a reasonable pace. We want everyone to leave here saying, “That was challenging and fun!” and more importantly “Let’s go back”. While ultimately everyone wants to challenge their game and push themselves to do better, the bottom line is that golf is about fun and entertainment.
Enjoy the 2007 season!
Leo and Charlie