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Jim_Coleman

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USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« on: August 07, 2014, 12:34:24 AM »
    Are there classic courses (built before 1940) that have rebuilt their greens to USGA spec?  I believe there is one here in Philly - the Cricket Club.  Are there others?  Any in the top 100?

Adam Lawrence

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 03:33:45 AM »
Alwoodley. They did a pretty good job of it too.
Adam Lawrence

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Stu Wolffe

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 08:18:48 AM »
BCC (Baltimore Country Club) Five Farms East course is doing it as we speak. 

Frank Pont

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 09:28:15 AM »
Alwoodley. They did a pretty good job of it too.

Why would you want a USGA spec green in the English climate ?????

Terry Lavin

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 01:54:51 PM »
If you have a great, classic course with original and imaginative putting surfaces, aren't you running the risk of getting a more vanilla product, even if the agronomic setup is arguably better with the USGA spec greens?  I can understand the desire to go with the newest "technology" in green construction, but wouldn't this necessarily alter the greens so that they wouldn't be a faithful replication of the old greens?  Finally, in a total renovation project, wouldn't the green destruction/construction take up a substantial portion of the budget (1/3rd?) as opposed to a gas/regrass job?  I'm curious of what the knowledgeable would say...
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  H.L. Mencken

SL_Solow

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 02:00:19 PM »
Terry,  I know a number of clubs that are considering their options.  Some have laser mapped the contours and are convinved that they can recreate their greens while coring them out and going with USGA or California method.  I admit that I am dubious and have expressed that opinion.  Nonetheless, I have seen the results of the "mapping" and, at least to this layman, they are impressive.  I would love to hear from the architects and superintendants

Thomas Dai

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 02:22:30 PM »
Alwoodley. They did a pretty good job of it too.

Why would you want a USGA spec green in the English climate ?????

Exactly what I'm wondering.

My parkland home course has one USGA spec green, installed about 12 yrs ago, and it plays totally different to all the other 17 greens. It probably needs a different maintenance regime too. Now there's discussion amongst 'those in power' about building a USGA spec chipping/practice green. My eyes roll when I hear it mentioned and think of the potential involved.

Doesn't seem logical to me, but I'm open to be told I'm wrong and why I'm wrong.

atb

Jim_Coleman

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 02:30:13 PM »
   I, too, am curious what experts think of the idea, as I too am very dubious.  But I am more interested in fact than opinion.  How many of the top 100 classic courses have actually been rebuilt to USGA specs.  I suspect fewer than 5.  If anyone knows of any (other than Five Farms), I'd be interested.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2014, 02:32:19 PM »
The other thing that surprises me with Alwoodley is they have a set of greens that have functioned fine summer and winter for 80 od years but decide to replace them with greens that are expected to fail as early as 25 years. I just do not understand the logic ???

Jon

Jon Wiggett

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 02:55:17 PM »
The firm USGA greens were an odd contrast to the fairways and for the first time in my life I wondered whether there was such a thing as USGA fairways? As Royal Mid would surely have benefited from such a practice!

Brian,

the answer in the UK to this is proper, deep drainage. I have often wondered why courses want to have greens that remain playable after a monsoon when the rest of the course remains unplayable for a long time afterward. One of my pet hates with Moor Allerton in Leeds was the fact the course was always very soft and played stupidly long yet the greens were like concrete and would not hold a shot. A real crap combination.

Jon

William_G

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2014, 08:22:23 PM »
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,52433.0.html

Eugene Country Club designed and built by Chandler Egan in the 1920's was redesigned with new championship greens by RTJSr. in 1967.

The old "classic" fairways are untouched as are the corridors of the fairways.
It's all about the golf!

Keith OHalloran

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 10:01:45 PM »
If you watch the women's amateur on the golf channel this week, you will see one. Nassau CC just re did all their greens to USGA specs. I was out there today, and the surfaces looked amazing. They played very firm, and the members I spoke to were really happy.

RJ_Daley

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2014, 10:23:39 PM »
We remodeled all 18 greens beginning July last year.  The old 70-80% poa were stripped and the native soil treated and ammended.  The contours of the old greens were slightly softened, but given the known speed the new cultivar and HOC Rutgers Luminary can yield, the softening still was not extreme to lose the contours and breaks.  The drainage installed was XDG system, which I believe might be the best answer to keeping native or ammended soil greens that can be regraded close to original contours and slopes as new turf is seeded or sprigged. 

I also would like to here some of our remodel/restore archies comment.

What system of green drainage and structure did they  use at Medinah?
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

Ian Mackenzie

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2014, 10:28:58 PM »
First, I am by no means an expert.

Second, I don't see a reason to focus on such a narrow sample base as a " Top 100" list.
If a course is "ranked" so prestigiously, it will no doubt have a green keeper that knows how to get the best out of the courses' older push-up greens.

To directly, address the question, I have seen older courses -  some once ranked on such lists - that have undergone restorations and successfully installed new USGA greens. Two Colt/Alison courses come to mind, both coincidentally worked on by Keith Foster: CC of Detroit and Knollwood.   ( I think Tom Doak may have done the greens at CCD a few years ago actually.)

I have played both and thought the greens were superb. When we did a restoration at our course recently, we decided not to the greens. gassing and burning was discussed, but dismissed. Architect believed we would lose the subtleties of our greens. we embarked on a more aggressive maintence practice schedule instead and it has paid huge dividends.

Reed Kemp

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2014, 11:04:12 PM »
   I, too, am curious what experts think of the idea, as I too am very dubious.  But I am more interested in fact than opinion.  How many of the top 100 classic courses have actually been rebuilt to USGA specs.  I suspect fewer than 5.  If anyone knows of any (other than Five Farms), I'd be interested.

I'd have to think a lot more than 5 have USGA greens. Charlotte CC, Augusta National for sure... I would think most, if not all, top 100s in the south with bentgrass greens are USGA.

Tom_Doak

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2014, 11:44:33 PM »
We are doing this right now at St. George's in Toronto.  They are regrassing the greens to get rid of Poa annua, and the superintendent wanted to core them out to USGA specs, too.  It is difficult work to get the greens EXACTLY the same, but not too hard to get them very close.

There are lots of classic courses that have converted to USGA greens ... Augusta and Pebble Beach for starters.  Riviera has some USGA greens but not all 18, and I think Winged Foot is getting ready to switch over.  We've done that work at The Valley Club and CC of Detroit, although at CC of Detroit we were not restoring the contours since the greens had been blown up and redesigned a few years prior. 

In contrast, Oakmont, SFGC, Shinnecock and National [among others] have not converted.

Terry Lavin

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2014, 08:42:00 AM »
First, I am by no means an expert.

Second, I don't see a reason to focus on such a narrow sample base as a " Top 100" list.
If a course is "ranked" so prestigiously, it will no doubt have a green keeper that knows how to get the best out of the courses' older push-up greens.

To directly, address the question, I have seen older courses -  some once ranked on such lists - that have undergone restorations and successfully installed new USGA greens. Two Colt/Alison courses come to mind, both coincidentally worked on by Keith Foster: CC of Detroit and Knollwood.   ( I think Tom Doak may have done the greens at CCD a few years ago actually.)

I have played both and thought the greens were superb. When we did a restoration at our course recently, we decided not to the greens. gassing and burning was discussed, but dismissed. Architect believed we would lose the subtleties of our greens. we embarked on a more aggressive maintence practice schedule instead and it has paid huge dividends.

Ian:

The Knollwood job did not involve the greens. They did tree removal, recut fairway lines and reconstructed bunkers. They're contemplating work on the greens, but it's still embryonic as I hear.
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  H.L. Mencken

Tom_Doak

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2014, 10:01:18 PM »
We've done that work at The Valley Club and CC of Detroit, although at CC of Detroit we were not restoring the contours since the greens had been blown up and redesigned a few years prior. 

Incidentally, the greens we replaced at the Country Club of Detroit were USGA spec greens that had been built a few years previously, that they were having agronomic problems with.  There was a lot of bickering at the club about whether they had been built properly or not; I stayed out of that argument.  But, USGA greens are certainly not foolproof.

The other thing about rebuilding greens to USGA specs is that after all that expense and work, the superintendent is faced with learning a new growing medium while dealing with impossibly high expectations.  I've seen several superintendents insist on rebuilding their greens, only to lose their jobs a year or two after the work was done.

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2014, 11:39:00 AM »
Will agree with TD on that one, regarding supers losing their jobs.  It really is an entirely different mindset for growing soil and sand based greens.  Some guys who have had soil greens marvel at how much water and fertilizers new sand greens take, some using the phrase "like shit through a goose."
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Thomas Dai

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2014, 01:08:45 PM »
Ref UK conditions, I came across this about rebuilding 14 greens at Long Ashton GC, Bristol.

http://www.longashtongolfclub.co.uk/visitors_greens.php

Nice private members course/club Long Ashton, been around since the late 1800's. Downland/parkland in character. I've not played it since the greens were re-done however, but they used to be super in the summer (will let the link comment on winter play).

atb

Jim_Coleman

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2014, 10:21:07 AM »
    I apologize if this is not a proper use of our discussion group, but I am doing some research, and can think of no better place.  These are the courses in New England, NY, NJ and Pa. that appear on the most recent top 100 classic courses.  Does anyone know if any have rebuilt their greens to USGA spec? 
   
   Pine Valley       Oakmont        Merion        Fisher's Island        Winged Foot        Bethpage Black        Garden City          Shinnecock 
   National           Plainfield         Plainfield     Somersett Hills       Myopia                Ekwanock               Oak Hill                Newport
   Wannamoissett  Yale             Quaker Ridge   Essex               Piping Rock          Maidstone               Kittansett            Baltusral   
   Sleepy Hollow   Aronomink     Salem          Lancaster             Fairfield                Fox Chapel             Fenway                Sankety Head
   Huntington Valley  Taconic     Whippoorwill   St. George's      Mountain Ridge     Philadelphia CC        Rolling Green 

   Thanks       
     

Tom Bacsanyi

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2014, 02:34:00 PM »
Will agree with TD on that one, regarding supers losing their jobs.  It really is an entirely different mindset for growing soil and sand based greens.  Some guys who have had soil greens marvel at how much water and fertilizers new sand greens take, some using the phrase "like shit through a goose."

Really interesting discussion.  Are there any competing green specs out there besides USGA?  What was a typical greens construction for an old parkland course back in the day?  Any subsurface drainage?  Sand capping?  Mix of sand and soil?  It would seem that there would be an opportunity to meld the USGA approach with the old school one to get greens that perform good without an absurd maintenance effort.  But who would want to be the guinea pig?  My course has USGA spec greens, but we are cool and dry at 7600 feet and our required maintenance regime is probably a fraction of the effort of a sea level East Coast or Midwest course with similar greens construction.
Don't play too much golf. Two rounds a day are plenty.

--Harry Vardon

Jon Wiggett

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2014, 02:45:50 PM »
Will agree with TD on that one, regarding supers losing their jobs.  It really is an entirely different mindset for growing soil and sand based greens.  Some guys who have had soil greens marvel at how much water and fertilizers new sand greens take, some using the phrase "like shit through a goose."

Really interesting discussion.  Are there any competing green specs out there besides USGA?  What was a typical greens construction for an old parkland course back in the day?  Any subsurface drainage?  Sand capping?  Mix of sand and soil?  It would seem that there would be an opportunity to meld the USGA approach with the old school one to get greens that perform good without an absurd maintenance effort.  But who would want to be the guinea pig?  My course has USGA spec greens, but we are cool and dry at 7600 feet and our required maintenance regime is probably a fraction of the effort of a sea level East Coast or Midwest course with similar greens construction.

Tom,

there is the German FLL norms which offer more flexibility.

Jon

Patrick_Mucci

Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2014, 02:00:18 AM »
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,52433.0.html

Eugene Country Club designed and built by Chandler Egan in the 1920's was redesigned with new championship greens by RTJSr. in 1967.
Are you positive that RTJ Sr constructed USGA spec greens ?

In 1967 they weren't exactly en vogue.


The old "classic" fairways are untouched as are the corridors of the fairways.


Ally Mcintosh

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Re: USGA Spec Greens on Classic Courses?
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2014, 07:12:45 AM »
If you want me to be really pedantic, it is not a specification, it is a recommendation.

People treating it as a specification has made everyone scared of veering from its parameters and experimenting with what might be ideal for each individual site.

In theory, an ideal greens mix could be different for each of the 18 greens on one course.

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