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mvmac

Is the Pursuit of Faster Greens a Problem in Golf?

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7 members have voted

  1. 1. Are Faster Green Speeds a Problem? Please elaborate below.

    • Yes
      9
    • No
      46


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"To Purists Who Dislike 15 inch cups"

http://www.golfdigest.com/blogs/the-loop/2014/04/to-purists-who-dislike-15-inch.html

Quote:

This is why I'm fascinated by larger cups. The 4.25-inch size was an arbitrary number reached at Musselburgh after the first cup cutter was invented, and the R&A; made it official in 1891. Greens were Stimping about 5 back then. Putting greens were merely a continuation of the fairway. Speeds gradually climbed over the next century until the last decade or so, to a game with a pursuit of speed not just in tournament golf, but in daily setups that view 10+ as essential for Stimpmeter readings. With a manufactured, shockingly distinct surface rolling infinitely faster than ever on nearly all golf courses, the hole has remained the same size.

We've learned that the more man's hand intervenes in golf, the less golfers accept bad breaks or extreme setups. Conversely, the more nature plays a role in our fate, the more we tolerate the madness. Excessive green speeds seem cool but never quite capture our senses because they are artificially propagated. The introduction of a larger cup potentially diffuses the over-importance of green speed in the modern game and could re-invigorate the game for those scared off by excessive short-game difficulty or a scarcity of time.

That's not to say 15-inch cups are the best answer. Moderating green speeds is. But purists should be open to trying a version of golf that restores the putting surface to a more sensible place in the cosmos.

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I am all for trying that. Every time I watch old footage of Jack and Arnie it looks like they are putting on shag carpet.

So?

I don't think green speeds are out of control. I think greens should be 9-12. Any faster and it requires too much cost and extra effort and pesticides and things. Too much slower and the minimal skill required to putt well is even further reduced, and luck from bumps and other things is increased (faster greens putt truer).

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I personally think that faster greens, 9-11 are easier to putt on.  When they are really slow <8, there are a lot of irregularities and you have to make longer strokes, which is slightly less accurate.  I have only played on 12 twice.  After a few holes it became easier to putt, but you had to really watch your speed on downhill putts.

Most courses I play are 8 to 9 though.

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I voted no.

I don't see how reducing the green speeds, let's say making greens a 6/7, is going to really speed up play. Most golfers aren't playing greens over 10, IMO most are playing 8 or 9.

The slow golfers I see are slow because they don't play ready golf and take too many practice swings.

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So?

I don't think green speeds are out of control. I think greens should be 9-12. Any faster and it requires too much cost and extra effort and pesticides and things. Too much slower and the minimal skill required to putt well is even further reduced, and luck from bumps and other things is increased (faster greens putt truer).


Just like I said, would like to try it. Greens appear to be bumpy and slow in the old clips, nothing more, nothing less. I don't think condition of greens is a problem for golf. Even on a course with terrible greens I still have fun. I wasn't previously offering an opinion.

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Absolutely not. I tend to putt better on moderately fast greens, assuming they are well maintained and roll "true." Fast greens also add an extra layer of strategy to encourage the proper placement of approach shots, because certain hole positions are basically guaranteed 3 putts if the golfer leaves himself above the hole.

I will say that I think the excessive firming that the pros have to deal with (at the U.S. Open in particular) is ridiculous. The margin between a good shot that holds the green and one that bounces off the back and into trouble can be a matter of feet or even inches - in other words, those types of conditions reward good fortune over good shot-making. That said, the average golfer doesn't have to deal with that, and I've never felt like a course I've played on has had greens that have been excessively fast.

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Just like I said, would like to try it. Greens appear to be bumpy and slow in the old clips, nothing more, nothing less. I don't think condition of greens is a problem for golf. Even on a course with terrible greens I still have fun. I wasn't previously offering an opinion.

You can try it right now. Putt in the fairways at a semi-decent course. :) Not in Scotland, though; they're almost as fast as the greens.

I will say that I think the excessive firming that the pros have to deal with (at the U.S. Open in particular) is ridiculous. The margin between a good shot that holds the green and one that bounces off the back and into trouble can be a matter of feet or even inches - in other words, those types of conditions reward good fortune over good shot-making. That said, the average golfer doesn't have to deal with that, and I've never felt like a course I've played on has had greens that have been excessively fast.

I think people over-estimate how firm and fast the greens are in the big events. Their golf balls are coming from 100 feet in the air, with a good amount of spin. Of course they're going to bounce. I've walked on plenty, and I think in comparison to the typical golf course, they are rather firm, but the stimp is almost never above 12 or 13 (despite what they'll tell you), and the greens are not really that firm (unfortunately I can't give you numbers for this… but I suspect if concrete is a 10, and your typical green is a 1, PGA Tour greens are about a 3 and the majors are about a 3.5… but then again, concrete might have to be a 20 for that scale to make sense, because you wouldn't stop a ball on concrete AT ALL , so…?).

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My last two rounds were on courses in the middle of their maintenance schedules.  One was going to aerate that day and had not mowed the green, so they were off the charts slow.  I'm going to guess a stimp of 6-ish.  The other had just aerated 2 weeks prior and had a similar length grass, and probably also similar stimp.  I found two commonalities with these greens:

  1. Putts that weren't gimmes but makeable - let's say from about 5' to about 12' - were very difficult.  You had to hit it so hard to make sure it got there, and it was slowing down on its own so fast, that the difference in stroke length between a 10 footer that was left 3" short and a power lip out from the same distance was very, very small.
  2. Of course, by the same token, because that difference was so little, getting longer putts to stop close to the hole was ridiculously easy.

So, I suppose it's a bit of a 6/half dozen thing:  Slow greens are super easy to avoid 3 putts, yet, IMO, a lot harder to sink mid range putts.

For those reason, I vote no.

Originally Posted by Big C

That said, the average golfer doesn't have to deal with that, and I've never felt like a course I've played on has had greens that have been excessively fast.

That's probably the other reason why I vote no.  Most of the courses I play on are at 9 or 10 ... perhaps if I played a course that was a 12 most of the time I'd think differently. :)

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There shouldn't be such an emphasis on stimp readings IMO. For one thing they're often BS, people will say the greens at their club are 10+ as an ego thing when they only play that quick occasionally. Then if you dump an inch of rain on top or have a couple days of howling winds any green will change, or even if one green is under shade or exposed more than the others.

Different regions, different grasses, and different contours all need to be taken into account to find a fair green speed. That means greens rolling at 5 with crazy slope offer a different challenge vs an 11 green that's nearly flat; that's a good thing. If anything I like fast greens around 10, but the speed isn't as important as the smoothness. They don't hurt my approaches much but I like being able to putt and chip really softly.

However, I don't think that the greens themselves should be the focus or main challenge of a golf course IMO. They can be small or have tiers or whatever, but if your defense of par is that they don't hold shots, then your course sucks Mr. Trump. What makes Augusta great for one is that it has a lot of slope and speed, but if you know the targets well you can get the ball to funnel in ways you don't see on most courses. Plus your 10-20 footer is makeable if you know the slope well, so the greens are a challenge but present opportunities of their own that balance the course's length. However if I'm in Ohio or Scotland or something I don't want the course to emulate the same style of golf which so many courses try and fail to copy. I'd rather play something native and not pretentious.

Aeration sucks though. The week prior the greens were perfect but now it's a matter of playing in a minefield.

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You can try it right now. Putt in the fairways at a semi-decent course. :) Not in Scotland, though; they're almost as fast as the greens.


Derp didn't think of that. No doubt knocking one through the fringe of a decent course would give a good idea. I'd be happy to find some greens here that aren't torn up. Hard to tell if it's fast or slow with all the pitch marks, sunflower seeds, spike damage, ashes, leftover sand and all that. Even then still don't think it's a problem for most. I'd wager 9 of 10 times I get paired with someone they don't even mark and clean their ball the entire day.

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So?

I don't think green speeds are out of control. I think greens should be 9-12. Any faster and it requires too much cost and extra effort and pesticides and things. Too much slower and the minimal skill required to putt well is even further reduced, and luck from bumps and other things is increased (faster greens putt truer).

If it only takes minimal skill to putt well why are we even talking about 15" holes??

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Does everyone's course(s) regularly publish the green's stimp meter reading?  I play quite a few courses over the course of a year and rarely see anything posted concerning the day's stimp meter reading.  How does everyone know what the green's are stimping ?  I suppose at some of the higher end private clubs the green committee might go out and take readings but I have never seen anyone at the many public courses I play walking around taking stimp readings.

I have played on some really fast greens and some really slow ones but I honestly couldn't begin to estimate what the stimp meter reading was.

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If it only takes minimal skill to putt well why are we even talking about 15" holes??

We aren't talking about 15" holes in this thread.

And in the context of golf as a whole, or compared to the other skills it takes to play golf, putting takes minimal skills. It's also the area where pros and players of all levels separate themselves the least.

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Does everyone's course(s) regularly publish the green's stimp meter reading?  I play quite a few courses over the course of a year and rarely see anything posted concerning the day's stimp meter reading.  How does everyone know what the green's are stimping?  I suppose at some of the higher end private clubs the green committee might go out and take readings but I have never seen anyone at the many public courses I play walking around taking stimp readings.

I have played on some really fast greens and some really slow ones but I honestly couldn't begin to estimate what the stimp meter reading was.

No, I've never once seen a course tell me what their greens stimp at.  And even if they did, I wouldn't believe them because it's baically the superintendent equivalent of internet driving distance, right?  Courses would tell you their greens stimp at 24 if they thought people would believe them.

I use Aimpoint for reading greens, and I calculate the stimp before each round with a level and a little trial and error.  After having done it a few times, it's not hard to just hit a few putts and be able to tell what a green speed is even without the level.  Almost every course I play around here (and I bet this is true everywhere) is a 9 or a 10.

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Does everyone's course(s) regularly publish the green's stimp meter reading?  I play quite a few courses over the course of a year and rarely see anything posted concerning the day's stimp meter reading.  How does everyone know what the green's are stimping?  I suppose at some of the higher end private clubs the green committee might go out and take readings but I have never seen anyone at the many public courses I play walking around taking stimp readings.

I have played on some really fast greens and some really slow ones but I honestly couldn't begin to estimate what the stimp meter reading was.


I only know of one here where I would trust what is being said about anything setup related and it's a private club. It's obvious in everything they do they are knowledgeable about course setup. They are gearing up for a sectional event, so I heard, and last week when I was there the greens were as fast as anything I've experienced. The guys in the pro shop will tell you if you ask.

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No, I've never once seen a course tell me what their greens stimp at.  And even if they did, I wouldn't believe them because it's baically the superintendent equivalent of internet driving distance, right?  Courses would tell you their greens stimp at 24 if they thought people would believe them.

I use Aimpoint for reading greens, and I calculate the stimp before each round with a level and a little trial and error.  After having done it a few times, it's not hard to just hit a few putts and be able to tell what a green speed is even without the level.  Almost every course I play around here (and I bet this is true everywhere) is a 9 or a 10.


I asked the starter the other day, not realizing the effect of what you are saying, and he told me 9 or 10.

Maybe he thought I was a complete novice anyway, so it wouldn't hurt to tell me. O:)

On topic, faster greens are easier for me to putt on, but only a little harder to stick with an approach as I like to come up short most of the time. I only go for the back if there is a ravine or other hazard in front of the green.

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Should have put a "Maybe" in the choices. I play a few in FL that post the numbers- mostly around 10/11, last trip highest I saw was 12. I much prefer a faster green as long as it is true. But a slow green is fine, AS LONG AS IT ISN'T BUMPY. You can adjust for speed, but you can't adjust for poor surfaces. Now, having said that, I think that too many courses are TRYING to make their greens fast, at the expense of quality. Some places will scalp their greens to within an inch (or 1/32 of an inch as it were) of it's life to keep the speeds up. And they are killing the grass as a result. Specific grass for different areas can sometimes handle the occasional tournament conditioning, but most can't spend a summer exposed to the elements in that shape. They dry out, turn to concrete and lose the grass. Then resort to painting or dying the dirt so it looks good from the tee. Get off the "Country Club" condition look, and try to maintain a reasonable surface with a reasonable speed. Everyone has to put up with the fuzzy stuff in the Spring (around here, anyway), but there is no need to overdo it later in the year. A small 9 hole on Long Island (Peninsula) generally has good grass on their greens all year and reasonably true. They aren't lightning, but fast enough for most folks through the season. Yes, in the Spring it's a bit fuzzy, but that gives the grass a chance to fill in nicely and keep the actual grass on them.

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