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Hard or soft greens?


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Are greens harder in the NE (PA, NJ, NY) than the SE (GA, AL, FL) persay? Ive noticed that in the southeast when I hit a shot 100 yards it usually lands on a soft green and either stops or backs up a bit. Here in NJ I hit a shot 100 yards and it bounces and goes 107 or so. Now Im concerned that I should be hitting a 95 yard shot and letting the ball release up to the pin....

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One factor: Water. Not only recent rainfall, but overall water table. If the area is in a drought, ground likely will be harder than if rainfall better.

Another factor is soil types. If the course is built on red clay, it will run faster than a course on former cropland with rich loam topsoil.

A third factor is course maintenance. If the greenskeeper aerates the greens regularly - punches holes in them - greens will have less compaction and won't be as hard as those with less maintenance.

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I can 't tell you definitively, but I've always thought greens were softer in the SE and harder in the NE but there are of course exceptions to this. It mostly has to do with the course maintenance, but the soil and and weather could explain the difference.
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I've only been playing public county courses so far. Tomorrow I'm playing neschanic valley which is #2 ranked public course in NJ. Hoping it's great because it's received lots of hype. I will post results tomorrow.
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I live in charlotte and the greens aren't soft here anymore. Lots of courses changing to Bermuda and not watering a lot. I hit towering shots with my irons and I don't even leave ball marks more than half the time. I guess all the more reason to learn to shape irons more.
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Any bent grass greens in this area are almost always going to be soft because it takes so much water to keep them alive.

Bermuda can get by with much less water and be more firm.

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Wow. http://www.neshanicvalleygolf.com was incredible. Excellent public course and it was in very good shape. Shot 40-48, so it wasn't my best day but it was fun. I was even able to back up a few iron shots and wedges hit well from under 100 yards checked up nicely.
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You think you find hard greens up east, try Colorado in March. I've gotten bounces so high at times I would've sworn I hit the cart path when all I did was hit the green. Kind of like Phil Mickelson's bounce yesterday at the St. Jude Classic, on the fourth hole. As to the thing with expensive courses having soft greens, I wouldn't necessarily believe that. My home course usually charges $56 per 18 on weekends, so not terribly cheap, but they still have firm greens. We keep them fairly firm (grounds crew) because it makes it a bit more of challenge without making it exceedingly difficult for newer players. It's enough that my wedge shots will usually take one hop and stop, but not spin way back or run out a long ways. To me, that is just about right.
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Community Golf course in Dayton Ohio. Give it a week with out water, those greens can get as hard as the cart path. They lost 1/3rd of a green last year due to not enough water. With little grass, i tapped my putter on that ground, it was hard as a rock.

All the greens there are elevated and drain really well, lots of slope, dry and harden out real fast.

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Of course weather is the major factor...........if it rains, greens will be receptive.  With that said, green firmness depends on the course staff.   whether Bermuda or Bent...........greens can play FIRM!  Whether this is the typical condition depends on the quality of the course.........

On average...the better courses play firm.

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I prefer a firmer course myself; and I don't like when it's too soft. It's also worth pointing out that a few greens might play differently on a given course depending on their level of exposure to wind and direct sunlight. Usually not a whole lot in it, but a couple greens at my course give me trouble or show a lot of markings from people's shots compared to others.

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I played a course these last two days in a tournament that reinforced my liking of firmer greens. Their greens had large amounts of slope to them, usually back to front with big moguls to make it trickier, but the greens were soft and fairly quick. I had four wedge approach shots on the first day spin off the front (one of them from the center of the green on the most severely sloped green), and yesterday I had one spin off and another two spin further away from back pins than I would've liked. A big factor of this was probably the slopes, but hitting the green and watching it come right back off is no fun.
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I played a course these last two days in a tournament that reinforced my liking of firmer greens. Their greens had large amounts of slope to them, usually back to front with big moguls to make it trickier, but the greens were soft and fairly quick. I had four wedge approach shots on the first day spin off the front (one of them from the center of the green on the most severely sloped green), and yesterday I had one spin off and another two spin further away from back pins than I would've liked. A big factor of this was probably the slopes, but hitting the green and watching it come right back off is no fun.

I always thought how the spin of the ball reacts on a green had more to do with the quality of the actual surface itself, rather than how hard or firm it is? You said that they were fairly quick, so it's not surprising that your ball moved more from the spin. On a soft and shaggy green, the ball will just sit by its landing spot (or plug in the green).

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I hate how hard the greens get at my league course, you just can't land any shot on most of them without bouncing off or rolling over. The other 2 courses I play regularly may get a bit firm but you can at least play a shot to land on the green and stay on it.

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I always thought how the spin of the ball reacts on a green had more to do with the quality of the actual surface itself, rather than how hard or firm it is? You said that they were fairly quick, so it's not surprising that your ball moved more from the spin. On a soft and shaggy green, the ball will just sit by its landing spot (or plug in the green).

A firmer green will let the ball bounce once of twice, which kills a bit of the spin, before it takes any effect. A soft green lets the ball start rolling backwards immediately, with no loss of spin on a bounce or two.

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A firmer green will let the ball bounce once of twice, which kills a bit of the spin, before it takes any effect. A soft green lets the ball start rolling backwards immediately, with no loss of spin on a bounce or two.

That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

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I can 't tell you definitively, but I've always thought greens were softer in the SE and harder in the NE but there are of course exceptions to this. It mostly has to do with the course maintenance, but the soil and and weather could explain the difference.

I think this is the opposite. Though maintenance can obviously be the determining factor, nature itself tends to provide softer greens and fairways (and land in general) I think due to rainfaill and seasonal changes. Areas like UP, Michigan is comprised of 90% sand. Last year on vacation, I played on Arcadia Bluffs 24 hours before a torrential downpour/storm. I couldn't even find standing water on the course because of the drainage. Hell, you buy asparagus from MI and you have to wash it 5x before cooking it or you're eating sand.

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