The USGA Recommendations for a Method of Putting Green Construction have helped golf courses around the world deliver consistent, high-quality playing conditions and healthy turfgrass for decades. Currently the USGA is working with a review committee of university scientists, accredited soil laboratories, golf course builders, architects and superintendents to review and update the Recommendations. The revision process will review current scientific research, modern construction techniques and technology, and current material testing methods while continuing to provide the golf industry with a repeatable and successful putting green construction method.
The USGA first published its Recommendations for a Method of Putting Green Construction in 1960 to help golf courses handle the increasingly high demands for putting green performance. Prior to this time, putting greens were primarily constructed with native soils or various mixtures of sand, soil and organic matter. Internal drainage was often limited if it was present at all. There was very little consistency to the materials used or the methods of construction. As interest in golf grew – and as golfers developed higher expectations – there was a growing need to build putting greens that could withstand increased demands while providing more consistent playing conditions. The USGA, with its long history of supporting scientific research, developed the Recommendations to meet this need.
Since their original publication in 1960, the Recommendations have continuously evolved as a result of scientific research and practical experience. There were revisions in 1965, 1968, 1973, 1982, 1989, 1993 and again in 2004. The revision process focuses on updating the Recommendations and providing supporting materials with the following important goals:
- The revised Recommendations will reflect currently available testing methods for determining the suitability of materials for putting green construction.
- The revised Recommendations will improve the clarity and preserve the broad applicability of the current Recommendations, ensuring that they remain useful to golf courses around the world.
- The USGA will develop a wide range of educational materials to accompany the revised Recommendations. These materials will increase awareness and improve understanding of the principles and scientific research that support the Recommendations.
- The USGA will create an updated “tips for success” document that reflects modern construction techniques and technology. This document will contain a variety of information that will help golf course builders and superintendents have continued success building USGA putting greens.
The updated USGA Recommendations for a Method of Putting Green Construction will not be a dramatic change from the current version, rather another refinement in an ongoing evolution. The USGA-recommended putting green construction method remains the most widely used and researched in the world. When built and maintained properly, USGA putting greens have provided consistently positive results for golf courses over many years. The revised USGA recommendations will be released in early 2018.