Is Your Golf Course Ryder Cup Ready?

By Chris Hartwiger and Patrick O’Brien, agronomists, Southeast Region
October 2, 2012

These golfers are not playing in the Ryder Cup, but any golf course can be set up for maximum enjoyment and friendly competition.

Don’t let the title fool you. There are several aspects of the Ryder Cup setup that just may give your golf course a boost.

Wow! The 2012 Ryder Cup was exciting to watch and is at the forefront of our minds as we prepare this update. The course was fantastic and the competition was thrilling. As agronomists and golfers, we noticed a few items that we believe made the competition more exciting to watch. Used appropriately, these items can be used to make your golf course more enjoyable as well. 

  • Variety in the length of the par 3s – The clubs used by the competitors at Medinah varied from mid-irons to hybrid clubs and even a few fairway woods.
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  • Playability of the rough –There was no four-inch rough at Medinah and players were afforded the opportunity to hit spectacular recovery shots. Sometimes they pulled it off and sometimes they didn’t, but there always was plenty of suspense. As readers of these updates know, we favor a style of rough maintenance that is reasonably easy to use for players of all skill levels.
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  • Short par 4s – The risk/reward opportunity faced by the players on the drivable par 4 15th hole created a pressure-packed decision for them and compelling viewing for golf fans. We witnessed many birdies and bogeys on this pivotal hole. On many courses, a short par 4 with a risk/reward decision on the tee is lacking.

What does all this have to do with your golf course? First, the Ryder Cup demonstrated the versatility with which a golf course can be set up. Are your par 3s tightly bunched in terms of yardage? Do you have a good risk/reward opportunity on your golf course? Second, the Ryder Cup showed that course setup has a major impact on scoring. Are your golfers playing from the correct set of tees and is the course prepared in a way that allows golfers to have a good time? 

The decision makers at all golf courses have a tremendous ability to influence the golf experience. Often, we see courses get into a rut with day-to-day course setup and conditions. With that in mind, we offer the following video that includes suggestions on how to promote maximum golfer enjoyment on your course. The Fun Factor

If this article or video has sparked an interest in how the enjoyment of your golf course is influenced by course setup, please contact either of us for more information. 

Source: Patrick O'Brien 770-229-8125 or patobrien@usga.org and Chris Hartwiger 205-444-5079 or chartwiger@usga.org

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