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It takes a lot of diligent work to keep greens the same size they were when constructed. Even at the best courses with the best greens-keeping staff greens will slowly shrink over time (decade +, not

You must know our head greenkeeper!! Our greens were small and are now smaller. Bunkers that were greenside now have a 3-5 yard fringe to cross. One of our par 3s has been grown in to no more than 10 yards across at its narrowest point - and they use it as the front pin...... Add in the fringes aren't cut as low and it is no surprise our course rating is higher. 

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It takes a lot of diligent work to keep greens the same size they were when constructed. Even at the best courses with the best greens-keeping staff greens will slowly shrink over time (decade +, not months) and eventually need to be rebuilt to maintain the architects intention. For this reason, a lot of older municipal courses and smaller private clubs that can't afford to rebuild end up with postage stamp sized greens. 

 

On the other hand, if you are seeing this happen quickly, it may be that they are shrinking the putting surface to save on maintenance costs. Golf is a tough business, and even busy courses can easily loose money. IF done strategically, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. A great example of this type of cost control is at the recently redesigned Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston. While some of the greens are expansive, many of the shorter, target-golf type holes have greens that are quite small. Additionally, there are relatively few bunkers, which are also very expensive to maintain. Instead, thick rough and sculpted land to the side of the fairways and around the greens offer the same strategic challenge.

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1 hour ago, EDT501 said:

It takes a lot of diligent work to keep greens the same size they were when constructed. Even at the best courses with the best greens-keeping staff greens will slowly shrink over time (decade +, not months) and eventually need to be rebuilt to maintain the architects intention. For this reason, a lot of older municipal courses and smaller private clubs that can't afford to rebuild end up with postage stamp sized greens. 

 

On the other hand, if you are seeing this happen quickly, it may be that they are shrinking the putting surface to save on maintenance costs. Golf is a tough business, and even busy courses can easily loose money. IF done strategically, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. A great example of this type of cost control is at the recently redesigned Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston. While some of the greens are expansive, many of the shorter, target-golf type holes have greens that are quite small. Additionally, there are relatively few bunkers, which are also very expensive to maintain. Instead, thick rough and sculpted land to the side of the fairways and around the greens offer the same strategic challenge.

 I recall a conversation with someone on the greens committee at my club about this.  I can't recall exactly how he explained it, but it was something like the green turf sinks slowly over time and to avoid having pronounced shelfs between the fringe and green, the fringe line must slowly creep in.  He said all greens have a shelf life before they need to be redone, and that life can be extended by creeping the fringe in a bit. 

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On 9/10/2020 at 2:22 PM, hansforegolf said:

Golfworks is making a killing I just shelled out a hundred bucks for a putter head I know Golf Galaxy bought them up for the Dick's parent company just can't get around needing stuff if you're a club Builder and its the easiest and most convenient

 

WAT

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I have noticed the same thing at a local club.  I used to play there a bunch back in 2011-2013 and hadn't been back until recently. They have had financial problems for a while and I think got new ownership a couple months ago.

 

On at least 7-8 holes, the greens were noticeably smaller and fringes were larger than I remembered.

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Our country club has slowly but surely narrowed our fairways over the past decade. We have Vesper Velvet Bent Grass in our fairways. Our agronomist claims that some of the rough grasses have crept into the edges of our fairways and rather than fight it, he's given in. Our 8th hole is a 407 yard par 4 with a landing width of 18-yards. It's the most extreme case on our course but the problem is growing (pun intended). 

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I've been a member at the same place since 1977 and have been through three iterations of turf grass on the greens there.  The greens have definitely shrunk over the years.  The tipoff is the current distance between what used to be greenside bunkers on several of our holes and the greens themselves.  Just today, I had to hit a twenty-five yard bunker shot from what was once a greenside bunker to a close pin on one of our holes.  I also notice some native grass encroachment on the borders of a few of our MiniVerde greens.  I guess they are depending on the wintertime to knock this nuisance down.  But the greens will be smaller still next year, for whatever reason.  

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Can’t imagine maintaining a smaller green is much cheaper.   My guess it’s the expense of keeping them from shrinking as the culprit.  

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Local public course is having the same issue.  They've been open for ~20 years.  You can visibly see that the collars went from about 24" wide to 48" wide.  The "old" collars began to get wild bermuda and crab grass growing in them.  They increased the width of collars to about 48" and you can tell the "clean" bent from the contaminated old bent.  Also, you can tell the bent doesn't start growing until well up on the green pad.

 

Don't some places "bury a wire" so they can go back later and find the green edge with a metal detector?

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Literally every course in the world has this issue, and while it maybe due to money (I haven’t heard that in 25 plus years of working in golf but I could see how it would be) it’s more likely due to bad operators and fear of reclaiming the edges because it’ll look like total crap for a little bit. 
 

We’d use a PVC tee that was 30 inches wide and myself or the assistants would walk and dot every green periodically. In the summer times when we were closed, particularly after we blew our place up and resurfaced the greens, we would measure the distance from irrigation heads to the edge and connect the dots to make sure we were exactly on the original dimensions. You can also probe into the profile feeling the greens mix and mark it that way. I have heard of the wire method and it’s very simple and effective!

 

https://www.golfcourseindustry.com/article/greens-maintenance--incredible-shrinking-greens/

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On 9/15/2020 at 9:19 AM, smashdn said:

Local public course is having the same issue.  They've been open for ~20 years.  You can visibly see that the collars went from about 24" wide to 48" wide.  The "old" collars began to get wild bermuda and crab grass growing in them.  They increased the width of collars to about 48" and you can tell the "clean" bent from the contaminated old bent.  Also, you can tell the bent doesn't start growing until well up on the green pad.

 

Don't some places "bury a wire" so they can go back later and find the green edge with a metal detector?

We had bermudagrass rough and fairways, with bentgrass collars and greens. We built a device to measure the width of the collars, and would mark the edges of the greens. We did this in the spring before the bermuda broke dormancy. This was a pretty good system for maintaining the greens size.

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On 9/16/2020 at 11:57 PM, ArtMBgolf said:

Some courses shrink the greens because fairway bermuda grass is invading the green.  
 
Another reason is the outside ring of greens seems to take a beating from mowers turning, so if part of the green goes bad, they
let it become fringe.   

But doesn’t that mean the “new” edge of the green is going to be an even tighter radius which will take an even harder beating? That seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’re talking about the cleanup pass around the green, right?

Edited by Heritage Printmaker
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I was talking about the cleanup pass around the outside of the green.  It's probably only an issue with riding mowers, who also may turn around
too soon on the putting green when there are bunkers involved.    
 
They can't do it forever, but gradually over time a variety of reason listed above cause greens to shrink, mainly on lower budget courses.       

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12 hours ago, ArtMBgolf said:

I was talking about the cleanup pass around the outside of the green.  It's probably only an issue with riding mowers, who also may turn around
too soon on the putting green when there are bunkers involved.    
 
They can't do it forever, but gradually over time a variety of reason listed above cause greens to shrink, mainly on lower budget courses.       

The likely culprit (especially on a triplex) is that the operator doesn’t want to “scalp” into the collar so if they’re going to miss they typically err on the side of missing inward. That half to one inch miss adds up over time. There’s a special talent to being able to nail the line between the collar and green whilst being perched atop a triplex.

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3 hours ago, Heritage Printmaker said:

The likely culprit (especially on a triplex) is that the operator doesn’t want to “scalp” into the collar so if they’re going to miss they typically err on the side of missing inward. That half to one inch miss adds up over time. There’s a special talent to being able to nail the line between the collar and green whilst being perched atop a triplex.

They sure miss when dropping the reels on occasion.

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