Chris Hartwiger - Three Things I Learned at the USGA Women's State Team Championship
I had the privilege of serving as an agronomist at the 2015 USGA Women’s State Team Championship at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Each day I took Stimpmeter readings and firmness measurements on the putting greens to aid daily maintenance and irrigation decisions. Below are three take-away points from spending eight days collecting and analyzing green speed and firmness.
- Patterns Emerge – After two or three days of data collection there were a few putting greens that always ranked as one of the firmest or fastest.
- Most Greens Can Be Measured with the Stimpmeter – One of the challenges on many golf courses is finding a relatively flat spot to take Stimpmeter readings. At Dalhousie Golf Club, I was able to find suitable spots for measuring green speeds on all eighteen putting greens. On four of the putting greens, I had to use the 2x notch on the new USGA Stimpmeter. If you are not familiar with the new Stimpmeter, click here: USGA Stimpmeter Information.
- Putting Green Dry Down – We had several moderate rainfall events during the week. As expected, firmness decreased after rain. Interestingly, there was little to no change in firmness for 24–36 hours after the rain despite dry and sunny conditions. Perhaps there was some capillary action taking place that keeps moisture content similar over this period. After 24–36 hours, there was an improvement in firmness.
While data collection is time consuming, it does provide valuable information about how two aspects of playing quality – green speed and firmness – vary from green to green and in different weather conditions.
Congratulations to the team from Georgia on winning the championship and thanks to the team at Dalhousie Golf Club that spent untold hours making this championship a success.