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albatross

Do most greens really break to the west?

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In the Ben Hogan section of "And Some of the Men In My Life" in Harvey Penick's Little Red Book (page 129 in my copy), Penick quotes Ben Hogan:

"All other things being equal, greens break to the west"

Penick then writes:

"He is right, of course.  There are many reasons why, I later found out".  Penick does not discuss it any further.

Is there any real truth to this statement??  Any geologists out there?

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Greens break downhill.

Every time I hear a commentator talk about the "pull of the xxx" near the course when talking about reading a putt I want to smack the TV.

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Originally Posted by Mordan

Greens break downhill.

Every time I hear a commentator talk about the "pull of the xxx" near the course when talking about reading a putt I want to smack the TV.

Agreed . lakes don't pull the putt over... maybe they just missed a putt because they misread or pull the putt! -_-

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The ones where downhill is to the west do.

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Depends where you are in relation to Lake Merced. (A dumb assertion by Penick deserves a dumb answer. Of course putts don't all break west. Putts break downhill, period.)
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Originally Posted by iacas

The ones where downhill is to the west do.

you really just want to believe what you read, than some generalized statements. Though, when it doubt, try to imagine were the water will run off to. I look for drainage openings, or were the high ground is. Unless a course will design there greens to drain againts the natural way water drains in the general area, the green will break towards the low ground. This is if i really have no clue what the putt will do, which happens to me about 5-10 times a year. I just assume its very costly to build a green that drains away from natural landscape, because then you have to build in drainage, or your going to have some water collection issues. Drainage is pretty expensive

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Originally Posted by saevel25

you really just want to believe what you read, than some generalized statements. Though, when it doubt, try to imagine were the water will run off to. I look for drainage openings, or were the high ground is. Unless a course will design there greens to drain againts the natural way water drains in the general area, the green will break towards the low ground. This is if i really have no clue what the putt will do, which happens to me about 5-10 times a year. I just assume its very costly to build a green that drains away from natural landscape, because then you have to build in drainage, or your going to have some water collection issues. Drainage is pretty expensive

Actually, building a green that slopes against the natural lay of the land can reduce drainage costs. They'll often just need one drain (in the saddle - the low point of the hillside and the green) rather than two (one on the one side of the green to catch hill run-off, and one on the other side of the green to catch green run-off).

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Putts break downhill or toward a body of water but grain plays a role as well.
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Originally Posted by Mulligan Jeff

Putts break ... toward a body of water ...

say what???

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Originally Posted by albatross

Is there any real truth to this statement??  Any geologists out there?

Yep......to the West.  ALWAYS to the west!

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Do you play golf for money by any chance?  Ever been to Florida this time of year?  Want to come......?

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Putts break downhill or toward a body of water but grain plays a role as well.

There's no "or" involved when it comes to putts breaking downhill. If there's water downhill, then sure, the putts will break that direction. And research has shown that grain has very little effect on break, it's mostly just speed.

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Originally Posted by Mulligan Jeff

Pond, lake...

no, they dont.  unless the pond, lake, ocean, port-a-potty...is on the downslope side of a putt.

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Originally Posted by Mulligan Jeff

Putts break downhill or toward a body of water but grain plays a role as well.

Others have said it, but to be clear:

  • Putts only break towards a body of water if that body of water also happens to be in the same direction as the slope of the green across the line of the putt.
  • Grain does not really affect the break of a putt much at all. One inch over 20' or so on the grainiest of greens. Grain grows downhill almost all the time, and does affect the speed of a putt.
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Originally Posted by iacas

Actually, building a green that slopes against the natural lay of the land can reduce drainage costs. They'll often just need one drain (in the saddle - the low point of the hillside and the green) rather than two (one on the one side of the green to catch hill run-off, and one on the other side of the green to catch green run-off).

Well i stand corrected :b

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Originally Posted by David in FL

Yep......to the West.  ALWAYS to the west!

What about if you live south of the equator...isn't it backwards there? What if you live so far west that you are in the far east. Do the putts break straight down? I once spilled spot remover on my dog...that didn't work out too well.

Putts break downhill. The west (SouthWest) refers to the setting sun and the myth that the grain always lays that way under the Heliotropic Theory (think Sunflowers how they grow to face the sun). Grain has little to no influence on break versus decades ago due to closer mowing, mowing patterns, aeration, and better species so I suspect that this may have come from an old adage. From what I remember, grain was a Bermuda issue in the Southeast that has virtually been eliminated with modern maintenance and most of it's influence is on speed.

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Sure..except when it breaks to the East, South, North....

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