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"Maintenance Meld" revisited & updated
« on: May 10, 2002, 07:42:33 AM »
I've been noticing that what's been referred to as a "good or ideal maintenance meld" is showing up on courses all over the place recently.

It's a condition I really don't remember seeing much in the past. It's something I've been seeing a lot of on classic courses in the last year or two.

The "ideal maintenance meld" is supposed to be a term that makes an understandable and postive distinction to the older term about maintenance--"good condition" (which can mean almost anything, can be misleading and sometimes not  conducive to good playing condtions, or good "playabilities").

Most of the particulars of "the ideal mainteance meld" involve firm and fast conditions but it's more than that.

First, it's the ideal degree of firm and fast "through the green"-how the ball bounces "through the green" and the speed and distance it rolls on the ground.

Second, it's the "firmness" of the green surfaces themselves! Not necessarily the putting stimp reading numbers of the greens but that's a factor. On the green surfaces the ideal firmness seems to be indicated by approach shots that don't "pitch mark" the green by getting to the soil below but only "denting" the putting surface slightly!!

But primarily, in that part of the "ideal maintenance meld" that deals with firm and fast conditions in either "through the green" or "on the green" it's really all about that perfect "BALANCE of FIRMNESS"  between the two for the most ideal, thought-provoking and yes, even intense conditions of playability.

When that "balance" gets really ideal between the two the golf and it's playabilities are just magnificent! It's so much the opposite of the old one dimensional aerial game. It brings the ground game back bigtime and basically creates almost a perfect "decision balance" in the mind of the golfer as to which choice, air or ground (or some combination thereof) will work best for him or which might work least bad!! The aerial game option is still there with "the ideal maintenace meld" but it generally requires a far more "quality" type shot and choice than the old aerial shot!

This ideal balance creates the optimal quandry in both the club selection and also the shot selections for most players! It's so much fun but can be frustrating too!

Some people think firmer faster conditions with the recent distance increases will make courses play easier because they'll play shorter! Don't believe it! It makes the course play actually more difficult overall because there're more options, more possibilities of things that can be used that go right and go wrong!

Of course if someone hits a bunch of real quality shots they sure can score--and it's more gratifying than the old one dimensional aerial game! For not so good players and short hitters the enjoyment is greater because their shots go farther and the good ones are not always behind the distance 8 ball of over-irrigated condtions!

I'm so happy to see this good or ideal maintenance meld returning to the classic courses, it highlights all the fundamentals and the nuances of their architecture. I'm not real sure why it's happening so much more these days--maybe a critical mass of understanding has been formed and clubs have become reawakened to how the proper maintenance practices can best play into their course's architecture for all the most ideal "playbabilities".

And the ideal maintenance meld is course or style specific! Ideal maintenance practices and the "ideal maintenance meld" for classic architecture can be quite different than "the ideal maintenance meld" for modern age style courses!

There's a lot more too it than firmer and faster condtions and that perfect "balance" between the firmness "through the green" vs "on the green", but that's a lot, and it makes such a difference from the way it generally used to be.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: "Maintenance Meld" revisited & updated
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2002, 08:51:30 AM »

I'm noticing it in this neck of the woods too! It surely does make a huge difference, especially your reference to "least bad" option. Chip shots and pitches can actually become "safety shots" on the best architecture, when the meld is correct. The cool thing about maintainence meld when its done properly, is that it largely negates yardage as the PRIMARY difficulty factor and as you say gets the bunters(like me) back in to the game. Getting the ball in the hole from "through the green" goes from routine to daunting.

I'd like to hear Pat Muccis take on what Pine Trees ideal maintainance meld is. Pine Tree is unique in the fact that it is truly a great golf course that's FLAT. There actually would seem to be a "range" of green firmness indicated to be "ideal" at Pine Tree. I have not played it since the greens were redone so I can't comment on what it is like now, but in it's former incarnation long iron approaches were required on several par4's with bunkers in front to fairly shallow greens.Very firm greens on those holes would border on impossible.

Comments Pat?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: "Maintenance Meld" revisited & updated
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2002, 10:55:55 AM »

That's very ironic you'd mention Pine Tree regarding its "ideal maintenance meld". I've been thinking about exactly what mix of firmness (fairways vs. greens) would be ideal there for some months.

Of course the fairways are flat but I think still very speedy faiways would be in order there. Combine that with maintaining the fairway bunkers in such a way as to magnify their function and strategic effectiveness. This would probably be best accomplished by close mowing the "entries" into the bunkers (the tee sides) as much as possible to let balls in as easily as possible.

That would be ideal for the fairways, I think. What exact firmness to ideally maintain the greens there would be much more complex, in my opinion, since Pine Tree is an interesting combination of aerial game and ground game architecture.

But whatever ideal green firmness that might be and however complex it might be to get to it, I do believe the firmness should be consistent on all greens throughout the course. I'm a believer that maintaining different firmnesses from green to green to suit the architecture of particular holes better is not good and unnecessarily complicated to a golfer. I never use the word unfair but that might border on it. How could he really know from one to the other anyway? Some might even say to read the architecture of each hole but that's too much guestimating in my opinon. Inconsistent greens speeds or firmness anywhere is just not logical to me.

I think of Wilson and his career as having a foot in both eras (early career was classic and later modern) so I think his architecture shows interesting combinations of both ground and aerial approaches and strategies.

But his designs are complicated insofar as the absolute best firmness (and consistent) to maintain the greens. The fronting bunkers placed in the center of some approaches with ground game possibilities on the flanks of the green entries makes the ideal green firmness tricky business at PT.

But my recommendation would be to keep the greens somewhat less firm than on the "open green approach" style of the classic course but maybe somewhat firmer than they may be now. A really well struck aerial shot coming directly over a fronting bunker should not bound on too much and should have a chance of checking somewhat if very well struck.

Of course there should be very firm approaches too for the more minimal runup approaches, again some on the flanks of some of the greens which frankly is a pretty darn interesting combination ground game/aerial game style of architecture.

And I think I would recommend the actual green speeds being very fast to meld well with the foregoing fairway/green firmness combination.

But interesting that you'd ask about Pine Tree--I've been thinking about it in that context! Pine Trees "ideal maintenance meld" would probably need to be tailor-made just for its' unique blended-era design!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: "Maintenance Meld" revisited & updated
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2002, 08:01:44 PM »
TEPaul and Ed,

Since Pine Tree is in South Florida, Pine Tree's maintainance meld is largely dependent on mother nature.

With 68 members carrying four (4) handicaps or less, one could say that it is a golfers golf club, with playing conditions paramount to all.  The intent is to keep the course fast and firm, but rain and excessive cloudiness can dramatically affect the way the course is maintained and plays.  
Overseeding or not overseeding can affect the way the course plays as well, especially as the grass transitions in and out of the overseeding process.

I don't think Wilson designed Pine Tree with the ground game in mind, and again, this may be attributable to the amount of rain south Florida receives.  
Pine Tree is overwhelmingly aerial.  
The greens are very well protected in the front and side, with occasional rear bunkering on holes # 2, 8, 13, and 15.
The fairways are fairly wide with adequate bunkering.

The greens have some contouring, and the desire is to keep them firm and fast, which is done consistently, weather permiting.

Since Pine Tree is a flat course drainage becomes more of a problem.  That may be a reason why Wilson elevated every green.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Dan Herrmann

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Maintenance Meld" revisited & updated
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2012, 05:10:05 PM »
I thought it was time to bring back the Maintenance Meld.

I'm fortunate enough to play on a course that's achieved its maintenance meld.  Fairways are perfect.  Greens roll like they should.  Firm and Fast.  Even the fescues are growing in well.

This coming the year after a devastating drought in the Philly area.

Obviously, weather has a lot to do with it.  But, more importantly, our staff puts in such amazing effort to present an exceptional product.  

How is your favorite course/club doing in terms of Maintenance Meld this year?


  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Maintenance Meld" revisited & updated
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2012, 09:19:01 PM »
We are overcoming a devastating attack of nematodes, but I have never seen the fairways and approaches in better condition.  The fairways are firm.   The greens will improve as last week's application of Curfew takes hold. 


Re: "Maintenance Meld" revisited & updated
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 05:54:45 PM »

GCGC was playing spectacularly F&F for the Travis, but, on the Monday after the Travis, Mother Nature began dumping significant volumes of water on the golf course, altering the playing conditions.

As I stated, Mother Nature dictates terms, and those of us in the NY Met area know that F&F has been AWOL since the rain started.

Sam Morrow

Re: "Maintenance Meld" revisited & updated
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2012, 10:24:11 PM »
We are overcoming a devastating attack of nematodes, but I have never seen the fairways and approaches in better condition.  The fairways are firm.   The greens will improve as last week's application of Curfew takes hold. 

Good to hear, the only thing that disappointed me at at Pensacola was a lack of hats in the shop and how soft the fairways were. Playing firm I think your par 5's would be awesome.


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