We have all had those rounds. Your drives are great and your approach shots find the greens more often than not. Even your chipping is decent. But, your putting stroke has turned into a sequence of jerks and jabs to the point that at the end of the day your score is so bad your only rationalization is, “Well, at least I hit the ball well.” And then there are those rounds where in spite of most of your shots being average, your putting was so good that you want to share your score with anyone that will listen.
As a golfer, you understand that at the end of the day, your overall score is the summation of all of your shots, with some having a greater impact than others on the final tally.
It might surprise you to know that the performance of the greens you play on is also the result of a combination of factors. But instead of drives, approach shots, chipping and putting, overall green performance is based on the combined influence of factors such as light, air movement, drainage, soil aeration, etc.
Just as poor putting can prevent a good score in spite of the rest of your game being solid, factors like light and drainage can result in poor green performance in spite of all the other agronomic factors being good.
To achieve consistently good greens superintendents should evaluate each of the factors that influence green performance. They should then implement programs to improve all of the factors within their control. For example, if trees are limiting light, a good pruning might be all that is necessary to make the green better.
Let’s take the analogy one step farther. We all know poor driving puts pressure on all the other aspects of your game. The same is true with greens. For example, a green that does not receive enough light will also have reduced tolerance of traffic and will be more prone to disease and weed infestations.
Just as your best scores occur when all aspects of your game are clicking, greens that are consistently great are invariably the same greens that have no limiting agronomic factors.