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Is Brown the New Green? Golf & Water

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
USGA president John Hyler is worried about overwatering of U.S. courses, according to the WSJ. Hyler is concerned about impact of overwatering on maintenance costs, playability, and tussles with environmentalists.

This year's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay will have a browner look. Do you think U.S. courses go overboard on supergreen?

Here's the link to John Paul Newport's article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000..._WSJ_US_News_6
post #2 of 13

Re: Is Brown the New Green? Golf & Water

Source: Article
Brown isn't a popular concept in most clubhouses I visit, but fun certainly is. One of the main points Mr. Hyler made in an interview this week was that firm, fast courses are more fun to play than soft, overwatered ones. Drives roll out farther. Approach shots into greens can, at the player's option, scoot along the ground and bank off contours designed by the architects.


I disagree. Firm greens won't be able to hold the shots into it. Played a course this weekend with very firm greens, but not playing very fast. On a lot the approach shots, you had to pick a club less and plan to land the ball in front of the green so it could bounce onto it. I like greens which are soft enough to hold the ball coming into it.
post #3 of 13

Re: Is Brown the New Green? Golf & Water

I kind of like the idea of making the greens harder meaning that players with a higher ballflight will be favoured. It will definately make players more creative and require smart course management.
post #4 of 13

Re: Is Brown the New Green? Golf & Water

Here in AZ the courses go way overboard in making everything super green. However, many courses have changed their practices over the last 2 years such as not overseeding roughs in the Fall and some don't overseed fairways and roughs. I played a couple of courses that only overseeded the greens and green surrounds and left the fairways and roughs dormant throughout the winter. The courses played fine and were quite fun with the excessive roll you get off the driver. I work in the golf course industry and way too much money is spent on water, fertilizer, chemicals grass seed and labor. The immaculate conditions are definitely nice but the industry is learning that you can still have a nice course without going overboard. It's sad that it took a major recession to figure this all out.
post #5 of 13

Re: Is Brown the New Green? Golf & Water

Originally Posted by andef View Post
I kind of like the idea of making the greens harder meaning that players with a higher ballflight will be favoured. It will definately make players more creative and require smart course management.
It also involves a lot more luck than what is fun.
post #6 of 13

Re: Is Brown the New Green? Golf & Water

Originally Posted by andef View Post
I kind of like the idea of making the greens harder meaning that players with a higher ballflight will be favoured. It will definately make players more creative and require smart course management.
It's actually nearly the exact opposite. With firmer conditions, aerial approaches will take huge bounces off the green, and being able to run up approaches to greens and negotiate the contours on the ground start to take a premium. Look at the British Open; links courses play very firm, and you don't see many balls spinning back on those greens.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bman1313 View Post

Here in AZ the courses go way overboard in making everything super green. However, many courses have changed their practices over the last 2 years such as not overseeding roughs in the Fall and some don't overseed fairways and roughs. I played a couple of courses that only overseeded the greens and green surrounds and left the fairways and roughs dormant throughout the winter. The courses played fine and were quite fun with the excessive roll you get off the driver. I work in the golf course industry and way too much money is spent on water, fertilizer, chemicals grass seed and labor...

 

Well said. Golf is played on turf, not on color. Watering increases costs needlessly. Playing links style low running shots rather than "high, vulgar shots that stab the green" (loosely quoted from Old Tom Morris) is just another way (the original way?) to play the game and is a skill that can often be used on lush, green courses too -- witness numerous low running hooks that Kucher, Tiger and others had to play this last weekend. Give yourself over to the low "Scottish" game and you will find it fun, rewarding and fascinating; especially on a beauty like Chambers Bay.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by shihtappens View Post
 

 

Well said. Golf is played on turf, not on color. Watering increases costs needlessly. Playing links style low running shots rather than "high, vulgar shots that stab the green" (loosely quoted from Old Tom Morris) is just another way (the original way?) to play the game and is a skill that can often be used on lush, green courses too -- witness numerous low running hooks that Kucher, Tiger and others had to play this last weekend. Give yourself over to the low "Scottish" game and you will find it fun, rewarding and fascinating; especially on a beauty like Chambers Bay.

Amen! Being a Superintendent this is near and dear to me. American golf has gone way overboard with keeping everything green. The amount of money to buy water (if need be) pay for electricity to pump it is large. The labor to maintain a irrigation system, hand water and keep things green can be cost a ton of money.   A firm dry course plays better imho and stands up to traffic better. I am not talking brown fairways and greens here Just some dry rough and fairway edges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeph View Post
 

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I disagree. Firm greens won't be able to hold the shots into it. Played a course this weekend with very firm greens, but not playing very fast. On a lot the approach shots, you had to pick a club less and plan to land the ball in front of the green so it could bounce onto it. I like greens which are soft enough to hold the ball coming into it.

Learn to play the proper shot. A dry course gives you more options and brings the ground game into play.

post #9 of 13
Yep. Here's a terrific take on the subject (and a few more), plus the correct quote from Alister MacKenzie (that I mis-attributed to Old Tom).

http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/waking-alister-mackenzie

I love playing springy turf links courses and falling into the "zone", where I am absorbed in the game like a kid playing marbles or something and it's all feel and not so much mathematical (no staring intently at the yardage gizmo and then pronouncing that I am "between clubs" -- which is another way of announcing that I am packed full of what horses deposit on the ground after eating a lot of hay. It's like curling (for them wot ken) on grass, kinda, and it is fun. Trees, ponds with geysers, paved cart paths and lost balls need not apply.
post #10 of 13

I kind of like the natural look of the link style courses in the UK.

 

We have a lot of chaparral in So. Cal. I often look into the hills and wonder, what if. . . we take advantage of the natural oak trees and the natural grass, it could look really nice. For instance, Angeles National (a Jack Nicklaus designed course) looks really nice, the only issue is that it plays really hard. Less green and more natural surroundings could be more attractive.

 

The golf courses will take on a more natural and regional look.

 

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeph View Post
 

Source: Article
Brown isn't a popular concept in most clubhouses I visit, but fun certainly is. One of the main points Mr. Hyler made in an interview this week was that firm, fast courses are more fun to play than soft, overwatered ones. Drives roll out farther. Approach shots into greens can, at the player's option, scoot along the ground and bank off contours designed by the architects.


I disagree. Firm greens won't be able to hold the shots into it. Played a course this weekend with very firm greens, but not playing very fast. On a lot the approach shots, you had to pick a club less and plan to land the ball in front of the green so it could bounce onto it. I like greens which are soft enough to hold the ball coming into it.

 

How do you think they've played in Scotland for 400 years?  Runners.... low running shots that are usually rolling by the time they reach the green.  Same was we play winter golf in Colorado on dry, dormant or frozen turf.  The game has always been about adjusting to the conditions.  Firm greens is just another adjustment.

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post

I kind of like the natural look of the link style courses in the UK.

We have a lot of chaparral in So. Cal. I often look into the hills and wonder, what if. . . we take advantage of the natural oak trees and the natural grass, it could look really nice. For instance, Angeles National (a Jack Nicklaus designed course) looks really nice, the only issue is that it plays really hard. Less green and more natural surroundings could be more attractive.

The golf courses will take on a more natural and regional look.



I played Rustic Canyon up in Moorpark last weekend. First real links style course I've played in years. It was fun, but scoring was crap--I couldn't figure out where to land the ball.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by k-troop View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post

I kind of like the natural look of the link style courses in the UK.

We have a lot of chaparral in So. Cal. I often look into the hills and wonder, what if. . . we take advantage of the natural oak trees and the natural grass, it could look really nice. For instance, Angeles National (a Jack Nicklaus designed course) looks really nice, the only issue is that it plays really hard. Less green and more natural surroundings could be more attractive.

The golf courses will take on a more natural and regional look.


I played Rustic Canyon up in Moorpark last weekend. First real links style course I've played in years. It was fun, but scoring was crap--I couldn't figure out where to land the ball.


Yeah, that was kind of the problem I had at Angeles. Except that when I played it, I didn't really know where the ball would fly off my club face either. :-$

 

I'll try it again in the upcoming weeks.

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