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A golf green survey

 andrue ·  
andrueandrue Members  1560WRX Points: 297Handicap: 20Posts: 1,560 Platinum Tees
Joined:  edited Sep 9, 2019 in Courses, Memberships and Travel #1

I played at my favourite local course Kirtlington, UK on Sunday and the nature of its greens got me to thinking. Most greens at most courses I've played at are almost flat. They might have an overall tilt (quite steep at one local course) but at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that they were flat. Players can often be left unsure what - if any - break there is.

This course though is different. With a couple of exceptions most greens have very obvious lumps, bumps and undulations. No-one is going to be debating whether a putt breaks to the left or the right here.

So out of pure idle curiosity I thought I'd see how common this was.

Posted:
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A golf green survey

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  • davep043davep043 Members  5314WRX Points: 2,487Handicap: 6.3Posts: 5,314 Titanium Tees
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    In my experience, older courses, and courses built on a tighter budget seem to have the most "one-plane" greens. More modern courses tend to have more movement, humps, tiers, and ripples. That generalization is by no means universally true, there are tons of exceptions.

    Posted:

    Home is Reston, Virgina, with regular visits to Southern Pines, NC

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  • lookylookitzadamlookylookitzadam SoCalMembers  656WRX Points: 236Handicap: 2.7Posts: 656 Golden Tee
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    On -, @davep043 said:

    In my experience, older courses, and courses built on a tighter budget seem to have the most "one-plane" greens. More modern courses tend to have more movement, humps, tiers, and ripples. That generalization is by no means universally true, there are tons of exceptions.

    Playing almost exclusively in SoCal this is pretty much true. The older courses with smaller greens are relatively flat while the newer courses have larger greens which have tiers and undulations.

    Posted:
  • andrueandrue Members  1560WRX Points: 297Handicap: 20Posts: 1,560 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Sep 9, 2019 #4

    Interesting comment about the age and investment. Kirtlington was apparently opened in 1995 which would make it about average for this area. However it has two courses (6,100 and 1,500) a decent range and is set in a large area with an impressive club house so it could be that more money has been put into it. Most of the courses around here were converted by farmers on spare land but that one does look more 'purpose built' somehow.

    One bizarre standout is this weird bunker on the 16th.

    I wonder if anyone has ever landed their ball in the middle of that?

    Posted:
    Callaway Rogue Driver.
    Callaway Big Bertha OS Hybrids (3/4/5)
    Callaway Big Bertha OS Irons (6/7/8/9/PW/AW/SW)
    Callaway 60* Sureout wedge
    Callaway 64* Sureout wedge
    Ghost Spider Si 72 Putter
    Callaway Super Soft Yellow (White in winter).
  • davep043davep043 Members  5314WRX Points: 2,487Handicap: 6.3Posts: 5,314 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #5

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. See the 18th at Muirfield

    Posted:

    Home is Reston, Virgina, with regular visits to Southern Pines, NC

  • kmay__kmay__ niagara, ontario, canada. Members  576WRX Points: 359Posts: 576 Golden Tee
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    Played a new track yesterday and the greens were quite flat, with the exception of a couple that had some break goin on. Funny though because our little Muni that we play quite often on weeknights, is short and a fairly easy layout, but the greens are some of the most interesting around in terms of undulations and breaks. I guess that courses only defense is the difficultly of the greens though.

    As a general rule I'd say for around the here the cheaper the green fee the flatter the greens. Our muni is built on an old landfill, so maybe the greens were flat when it was built and they've progressively changed shape over the years.

    Posted:
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  • lookylookitzadamlookylookitzadam SoCalMembers  656WRX Points: 236Handicap: 2.7Posts: 656 Golden Tee
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    If you want some funky greens, check out Crossings at Carlsbad in Carlsbad, CA (just north of San Diego, CA). There are multiple 3 tier greens and some greens have over 5ft of elevation change.

    Pictured above is the green on the par 5, 7th. 3 tiers with probably a 5ft elevation difference between "1" and "3". Most of the green at this course is so tiered and sloped it's gimmicky. Don't get me wrong, I like the course, but even though the greens are large if you are on the incorrect tier then 3 putting is not out of the question even when 15 feet away.

    Posted:
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  • andrueandrue Members  1560WRX Points: 297Handicap: 20Posts: 1,560 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Sep 9, 2019 #8

    I quite like it, it's one of the reasons why it's my favourite course. The breaks are so obvious that it's just a matter of deciding 'how much'. My home course is the opposite even after several years I sometimes don't see the break and I find that frustrating. But Kirtlington is also just so ' scenic. The third is particularly attractive with its canal bridge.

    And the 18th is a great downhill hole to finish on.

    I almost had a great finish to yesterday. A 240 yard down hill drive, a 160 yard approach that stopped on the green. Unfortunately I then made a rare three putt for a bogey but hey, the approach was great and it was seen by a crowd drinking on the club house veranda :)

    It's quite a juxtaposition of technology. A quaint Victorian canal with a modern railway line behind it. From further around and higher up the course you can see several satellite dishes (originally operated by Clueless and Witless, I'm not sure who owns them now) and periodically you can see (thankfully barely hear) Learjets and the like climbing out of Oxford airport.

    Just a shame that it's not on my way home and in fact is on the opposite side of the town so getting their in the evening would be ****. Sometimes geography trumps everything else :)

    Posted:
    Callaway Rogue Driver.
    Callaway Big Bertha OS Hybrids (3/4/5)
    Callaway Big Bertha OS Irons (6/7/8/9/PW/AW/SW)
    Callaway 60* Sureout wedge
    Callaway 64* Sureout wedge
    Ghost Spider Si 72 Putter
    Callaway Super Soft Yellow (White in winter).
  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members  2645WRX Points: 1,044Posts: 2,645 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #9

    I think this is a good example of different eras of GCA.

    The Golden Era was punctuated with courses whose greens were aimed at being a challenge for the person playing the sport of golf. They were playing fields in a way and looked as such. Lots of quirk. Some of it manufactured, some of it natural and not removed due to lack of large scale earth moving.

    The post war boom of courses in the States was mostly boring "bowling alley" fairways with a green at the end and bunker left, bunker right or bunkers both left and right. Greens were either tilted back to front or quartering one side or the other. This is a generality of course and I am sure there are notable exceptions.

    Pete Dye came along and broke the mold. When money was flush in the 90's archies built whatever the client could afford. As the housing bubble was about to burst and the inputs necessarily had to be reeled in the Minimalists lead by Doak and C&C came to to the fore front.

    Long story short, most courses around me have flattish greens due to when they were built, 1950-1970. The newer courses tend to have more interesting greens with large undulations. I am like you though, I find the rolly-polly greens much easier to read and putt and frankly I have less expectations on myself when putting them. On the flattish ones it is harder for me to get the speed correct and the amount of break. Sometimes I will see no break, guess that there has to be at least some break, start it on one edge of the hole and be wrong and the ball never start in the hole at all.

    I, personally, would not want to play one type of either all the time.

    Posted:
  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members  2645WRX Points: 1,044Posts: 2,645 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Sep 11, 2019 #10

    On -, @Roadking2003 said:

    On -, @smashdn said:

    Pete Dye came along and broke the mold. When money was flush in the 90's archies built whatever the client could afford. As the housing bubble was about to burst and the inputs necessarily had to be reeled in the Minimalists lead by Doak and C&C came to to the fore front.

    I don't agree with your C&C comment. Almost every C&C course I have played has huge undulations and/or slopes including Sand Valley, Cabot Cliffs, Colorado Golf Club, Barton Creek Cliffside, and Austin Golf Club.

    I wasn't implying that C&C (or Doak for that matter) don't build undulations in their greens. If it came across that way, my mistake.

    Just the contrary in fact. Doak at times gets skewered for his greens being too wild.

    My point was once the housing and golf crash happened there weren't many Shadow Creeks or TPC Sawgrasses being built. The reaction to the crash was to not move much ground when you didn't have to and when you did to make it look like it was always that way (return to golden age principles to the extent possible/practical and provide a course with those appearances). I can't speak to C&C specifically as I haven't read much directly from either but Doak is a proponent of wide-ish fairways offering strategic decisions and much of the challenge of the hole being presented at the green and surrounds. Tiered and segmented greens that depending upon hole location have a preferred angle to approach from or preferred shot shape or flight.

    Posted:
  • tideridertiderider Members  3189WRX Points: 2,212Handicap: 5ishPosts: 3,189 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Sep 11, 2019 #11

    Doak/C&C were minimalists with lots of courses built, long before a recession hit ... bit absurd, imo, to claim the recession is responsible for a shift in golf architecture ...

    Posted:
  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members  2645WRX Points: 1,044Posts: 2,645 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @tiderider said:

    Doak/C&C were minimalists with lots of courses built, long before a recession hit ... bit absurd, imo, to claim the recession is responsible for a shift in golf architecture ...

    Its a bit absurd to not think there were plenty who saw the "decadence" for lack of a better word, being created. That movement absolutely had some basis in a turn away from huge budget jobs and more importantly huge maintenance budgets.

    Doak and C&C were on the leading edge and only two from that group. The old guard has since had to fall into the "environmentally sustainable" mindset (take note of the presence of those buzz words now on their websites).

    Never-the-less, that recession absolutely created a shift in golf architecture. Not many new projects being started during that time. Much more renovation and resto-vation work being done. Much more emphasis on width and playability and reclaiming lost playing corridors. Rediscovering lost original architecture more so than building new.

    Posted:
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  • mallratmallrat Members  3343WRX Points: 482Posts: 3,343 Titanium Tees
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    FWIW, I think the minimalist has more to do with maintenance and a nod to the way things were. I never viewed their designs as something revolutionary I just view them as a nod to how golf courses were originally designed.

    Posted:
  • third-times-a-charmthird-times-a-charm Members  3364WRX Points: 1,455Posts: 3,364 Titanium Tees
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    Every one of our greens slopes or tiers or something-or-others in some direction.

    Posted:

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