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Michael Felton

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Well,  the answer has got to be ..................................  Pine Valley.
The greens on the 8th hole are about as small as any I have seen on a full golf course.   Probably why there are two of them, although I have never played to the right green - not that I am there that often.
In terms of big # 4, #13, #16 and the 18th green are all large.   Pretty easy to 3+ putt those large greens if your approach is on the wrong side.
The great difference in green sizes is an example of how diverse the design features are at PV.


This was what jumped to my mind. That 8th green is so small. I looked on google maps and that's about 2,000 sq ft while the 2nd for example is around 10,000 sq ft. 16 is a little under 12,000 sq ft - I think that must be the biggest one. It's hard to tell where 13 fairway/green interchange happens, so not sure about that one.

Jeff_Brauer

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Why isnít this more prevalent?




It's mostly a matter of practicality. 


It's difficult to build small greens anymore.  If you are building a course that expects a lot of play [which most clients hope for], the superintendent is going to insist on at least 5000 sf per green, possibly 6000.  So the lower bound is more limited than it used to be.


And if you are thinking practically, and 6000 sf will suffice, it seems pretty unnecessary to build one that's 12000 sf.


Sure, you can find ways to justify it, the best of which is "that's just what I felt like building".  :)  But the number of times I've worked on a hole where I thought it really NEEDED a 12,000 sf green are small enough to count on one hand.


Variety is important.  Overdoing variety for the sake of publicity is not the same thing.


I do like the variety of different size greens, but it can be between 4500 SF and an upper limit of maybe 10K.


The design (as opposed to marketing) reason I have often heard is that a large green on a shorter shot "might" make one lazy on the approach, which is certainly a different way of trying to fool golfers.  Perhaps that large green could be partially hidden, or even have large bunkers to fool distance perception.  The other justification I have heard is that if you have one green where the penalty for an indifferent approach shot is a monster putt rather than hazard, there is nothing wrong with that, although many golfers reject the idea of a shot you really can't practice for, and who wants to check with their medical insurance on a shot?  (A 200 foot putt takes quite a hip turn!)


Having been in the biz since 1977, I will say it wasn't very practical then to build a green under 5K, so it is (to me) a "now days" type issue.  Similarly, supers usually balk at much under 6K and anything much over 6500 SF, which is difficult but suitable to find enough pins.  Is building 4% contours and other wild internal contours within, all of which require bigger greens than the acceptable minimum also a way to justify bigger greens?  For most golf courses struggling to make money, that answer would be no, but I see a lot of architects following those trends, which I believe will be found as impractical in the next recession, as wild features that are harder than standard to maintain have been.  I used to think (still do) that except at high end courses, anything that is difficult to maintain will be altered within a few years from opening.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2024, 01:25:05 PM by Jeff_Brauer »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Charlie Goerges

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I used to think (still do) that except at high end courses, anything that is difficult to maintain will be altered within a few years from opening.




That's really disheartening to read Jeff. It brings to mind questions of what the purpose of golf and courses even is. Is the purpose of a golf course to be easily maintainable or to be fun and engaging to the player?
Severally on the occasion of everything that thou doest, pause and ask thyself, if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives thee of this. - Marcus Aurelius

Tom_Doak

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I used to think (still do) that except at high end courses, anything that is difficult to maintain will be altered within a few years from opening.


That's really disheartening to read Jeff. It brings to mind questions of what the purpose of golf and courses even is. Is the purpose of a golf course to be easily maintainable or to be fun and engaging to the player?




There are a lot of people developing golf courses who think the purpose of building a golf course is to make money.  [Few of them have ever had the chance to read the financials for 100 golf courses to see where the odds really lie.]


Fortunately, there is also a cohort of developers for whom developing a golf course is a dream project, and they just want it to be a fun place to play and to bring their friends.  Those guys generally don't mind maintaining a bit of extra green surface. 


But, there is a point at which it just becomes an extravagance and doesn't really add to the interest of the golf.  Where you cross that line is up to the eye of the beholder, I guess.  I just want to be sure I've crossed the threshold of "fun to play" first.

Charlie Goerges

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I just want to be sure I've crossed the threshold of "fun to play" first.


Exactly. I'm all for making golf course maintenance as affordable as possible, but not at the expense of a course that is actually fun to play. That would be putting the cart before the horse I think.
Severally on the occasion of everything that thou doest, pause and ask thyself, if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives thee of this. - Marcus Aurelius

Justin Hill

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I noticed and appreciated this at the Tree Farm.  7 seemed to be around 3000 sq ft and there are a few I would guess are over 10,000 sq ft.

Rob Nydick

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Garden City GC comes to mind.  I'm guessing the 14th green is the smallest on the course (looks to be around 4,000 SF), but the par-three 18th green looks to be around 13,000 SF. 

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