There’s been a lot of discussion here about the conditioning of golf courses and how that has lowered the enjoyment level for many golfers.
The USGA is now talking about brown and firm and fast as the way they’re going and, maybe for the future, this is a good start to getting us back to where we need to go with conditioning.
Because golfers are so used to perfect conditions, a superintendent might have a huge budget to maintain bunkers.
As far as greens go, from a selfish standpoint, I putt way better on fast greens, but here at Point Roberts, we’re known for our greens and our green speeds. In the summer, we usually have ours around 10.5 on the stimp and, as soon as we get to 11, the superintendent dials it back a little bit.
I like them at 10.5 because I think most people can handle that. We don’t have lots of slopes here, but you start to notice when it gets to 11. We’ve had them at 12.5 before, but that two feet of difference is an automatic 20 minutes added to a round of golf.
On a day-to-day basis now, 10.5 is the fastest we try to get. If you’ve got 10.5 and you don’t go crazy on your pin positions, you’re fine, but if you could have 9.5 greens and keep people happy, you’d save thousands of dollars.
If the average 15-to-18 handicapper played a golf course where the greens were 12 one day and nine the next, that golfer would shoot six shots better on the nine.
Of course, trying to convince your customers to play to their levels is often a problem, as well.
Countless times on weekends, when we’re in the golf shop, I’ll get a radio call from our starter telling me, `We’ve got this group going back to the tips,’ even though they shouldn’t be. That happens more often than you may think.
Golf is rapidly getting to the point where we’ll have to change our mindsets about such matters.