Find The Right Fit

By R.A. (Bob) Brame, director, North-Central Region
March 1, 2013

Since changing hole locations makes the game more interesting and helps protect the turf from wear, superintendents rely heavily on those staff members that have the skill and patience to do the job properly.

Changing the hole location on a green is not as easy as most golfers think. Actually, this important job probably doesn’t get much thought unless it’s done incorrectly. The process involves cutting a fresh hole for that day’s play and then using the removed plug to fill the old hole. The soil structure must be factored into the process and, as you might expect, there can be considerable variability in the makeup of the rootzone in greens from course to course or even from green to green on a single course. The objective is to cut the new hole at the same exact depth as the old hole that is to be filled. Whether the filling of the old hole is done with multiple sections or a single plug, too high or too low (as shown in the image) is a problem. There is quite a bit of “feel” involved in the process so invariably some staff members are better at “cutting cups” than others. Given the importance of smooth putting surfaces, superintendents rely heavily on these staff members to do the job correctly. 

From the golfer’s viewpoint, the changing of hole locations keeps the course interesting and challenging. From the superintendent’s viewpoint, changing hole locations spreads traffic over as much of the green as possible. Leaving a hole in the same location just a little too long can result in damage to the green that is obvious to everyone. This relationship can get a little complicated in early spring when golfers are ready to play but the greens are still frozen to the point that holes cannot be changed. Since the turf is also growing very slowly (if at all) severe damage can occur if the greens are opened too early. As difficult as it may be, delaying play just a few days can make a tremendous difference in playing quality and turfgrass health for the rest of the spring. 

As you plan for a Turf Advisory Service (TAS) visit this season remember that a $500 discount can be secured by paying for a visit prior to May 15. Even with early payment visits can be scheduled anytime during the season. Also, GCSAA continuing education credits are available for superintendents and assistants attending TAS visits – 0.3 (half-day) and 0.6 (full-day). If you haven’t scheduled your 2013 visit yet give us a call or drop us an email. 

As always, we look forward to working with you. 

Source:  Bob Brame, bobbrame@usga.org or 859.356.3272

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