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Jim_Coleman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« on: May 27, 2012, 10:20:49 PM »
     I play at a top 100 Classic Course in Philly.  Out of the 350 or so members, we probably have 50 or so single digit players (including me, but maybe not for too much longer).  We are cutting the rough at 3 1/2 inches, and it is not only very penal; it makes finding some balls a challenge.  The majority (15+ handicappers) complain that it's no fun and the rough should be cut down to where they can play from it.  Many (but by no means all) of the minority/low handicappers believe the course should be maintained as a challenge consistent with its pedigree.  After all, Merion, Oakmont, Bethpage, etc. don't allow the majority/higher handicappers to "mediocratize" (my word) the course.  If it were put to a vote, there would probably be virtually no penalty for being in the rough.  Should the majority rule?  Or, should the green committee resist the pressure to "mediocritize" the course?

Mark Steffey

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2012, 11:03:51 PM »
shots hit into the fairway should be rewarded.

Steve_ Shaffer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2012, 11:07:05 PM »
Why not 2.5"?
"Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses ... "  Adlai Stevenson
Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone: "We're bigger than US Steel."
Ben Hogan “The most important shot in golf is the next one”

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2012, 12:11:30 AM »
3-1/2 is pretty brutal. 

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2012, 12:17:52 AM »
Maybe you can come to some agreement that will suit everyone, like cutting the rough at 2 or 2.5 in the spring when it's juicy and letting it get up to 3 or 3.5 in the summer and fall when (or if) it's much drier.
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Ronald Montesano

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2012, 01:29:56 AM »
Crag Burn in East Aurora, NY, is known for its thick, tall fescue/field grass. This year, I notice that the Super is cutting it back, not lower. The first cut of rough is wider, and seems to be more than manageable. The first cut might be at 1.5-2 inches, meaning for the average good player (15 handicap and below) that the ball can be advanced with a club other than wedge, albeit perhaps not all the way to the target area. The thick stuff is still lost-ball territory, often followed by ouch-wrist syndrome, but that's your fault for going so wide that you hit is there. From left perimeter of first cut to right perimeter of first cut, Crag Burn is St. Andrews-wide in most spots. I like this approach (and I'm not a member.)

I bring this up because CB is a course known for its rough. A more traditional track like Country Club of Buffalo doesn't have the width/room, so it doesn't have the option of growing a gnarly section of taller grass.
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Rich Goodale

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 02:31:26 AM »
Heavy rough is the last refuge of a greenkeeper who is either:

--lazy and/or
--under funded and/or
--burdened with a course without sufficient design subtlety to provide a recovery challenge to wayward shots even if the grass is cut low enough for even a 15 handicapper with astigmatism to find and play his or her ball

Jim, if you believe that your course is truly deserving of a "top 100" sort of accolade, ask the greenkeeper/Green Chairman to prove that by lowering the blades of the mowers.  IMHO.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 05:39:39 AM by Rich Goodale »
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

John Kirk

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2012, 02:40:06 AM »
I like 2.5" or less, becaue it encourages a read of the rough, and a chance to play strategic shots.  3.5" is tough in many grasses.  A golf course should challenge the player with rough that does not offer options.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2012, 02:59:27 AM »
I think Rihc is right.  My ideal standard of rough is the ball should be found quite easily.  If it is taking 2-3 minutes of hunting when a player "knows" where it is than its too long. Everything else that makes sense about recovery opportunities will fall kinto line using this guideline.

Ciao 
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Rich Goodale

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2012, 05:41:31 AM »
I like 2.5" or less, becaue it encourages a read of the rough, and a chance to play strategic shots.  3.5" is tough in many grasses.  A golf course should challenge the player with rough that does not offer options.

Surely John, you mean ".....should not challenge..."

Shirley
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Melvyn Morrow

Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2012, 06:37:04 AM »
How high is rough - simple answer as high as the Green Keeper believes it should be as he knows his courses and his Members?

However if it’s a club uses many aids and their Members are into the latest high tech equipment then high will - I suspect be that cut just above the cut over the fairways. After all we do not want to test or challenge these golfers who rely on aids to play their game.

Christ 3" will kill most of them or get them running ops sorry, riding to the Greens Committee to rectify this unacceptable challenge to their game of weak, wet handshake golf.

Rough, make it rough, the clue is in the word ;)

Melvyn

« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 08:28:48 AM by Melvyn Hunter Morrow »

Jim Nelson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2012, 09:35:09 AM »
My club went through a period a few years ago where they maintained high rough, and it became almost the sole subject of discussion during and after every round.  Eventually, they took it back to around 2-2.5 inches and everyone settled down.  We can now find the wayward ball, but interestingly enough, the rough still is very "grabby".  You really have to concentrate and use good technique to get a good result.  So, I'm in favor of something reasonable, an acceptable compromise if you will.  Let it grow up an additional inch or so when you have the club championship.  But what I think we should use as a tie breaker is making the course and the game fun.  All golfers will hit it in the rough.  Let's not make it so penal it becomes a grind.
I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.  E. B. White

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2012, 09:42:48 AM »
Jim:

Has your course hosted the U.S. Open? Has it had Hogan, Palmer and Tiger play its fairways and greens in the Open? If not, then I'd suggest its members' views on its "pedigree" ought to be lowered, because it's not in the peer group of Oakmont, Merion East or Bethpage.


D_Malley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2012, 09:43:21 AM »
we keep the rough at Paxon Hollow very short along the fairways (2 inch max, maybe less). but the green surround rough is maintained higher (maybe 3 inch).  Our fairways are very narrow, so it is not that big of a penalty to miss slightly right or left of the fairway.

This method works well for us as you rarely need to search for your ball after your drive, and as long as you are paying attention to where your approach shot lands you should have no problem finding it rather quickly in the green-side rough.  Getting up and down after a missed green is a challenge.

We are a high volume public course where it is important to keep play moving.  
We recently installed new green side sprinkler heads that can be set to do half circles at any degree.  
They are really helping us to maintain the rough in this manner.

Tyler Kearns

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2012, 10:20:02 AM »
Jim,

If members are having a hard time finding balls in the rough, it is certainly too long. This will only lead to longer rounds and higher scores. I have always felt the rough should offer a wide variety of lies, much the way I remember courses in Australia being presented. Sometimes your perfect, or sometimes you have to hack it out sideways with a wedge, and everything else in between. Remember that time & difficulty are two major contributors to people leaving the game of golf and long rough certainly contributes to these problems.

TK

Adam Clayman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2012, 10:44:20 AM »
   Many (but by no means all) of the minority/low handicappers believe the course should be maintained as a challenge consistent with its pedigree.  After all, Merion, Oakmont, Bethpage, etc. don't allow the majority/higher handicappers to "mediocratize" (my word) the course. 

Since most of the golfers don't give a rat's patootie about architecture, I highly doubt they give two poops about their pedigree. Or, in most cases a pedigree of myth and lore, rather than substance.

The rough at Merion is oxymoronic and the only ding one could conceive of giving that great design. I assume it's the same way at these other clubs.

IMO, A vote to eliminate almost all the rough, on almost any course, will uncover the true nature of the sport, and that particular course.

It's just a self serving myth that difficulty equates to a better course. Or at least the fact that water, trees and rough are the weakest design elements. You do the math.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2012, 10:46:32 AM »
     I play at a top 100 Classic Course in Philly.  Out of the 350 or so members, we probably have 50 or so single digit players (including me, but maybe not for too much longer).  We are cutting the rough at 3 1/2 inches, and it is not only very penal; it makes finding some balls a challenge.  The majority (15+ handicappers) complain that it's no fun and the rough should be cut down to where they can play from it.  Many (but by no means all) of the minority/low handicappers believe the course should be maintained as a challenge consistent with its pedigree.  After all, Merion, Oakmont, Bethpage, etc. don't allow the majority/higher handicappers to "mediocratize" (my word) the course.  If it were put to a vote, there would probably be virtually no penalty for being in the rough.  Should the majority rule?  Or, should the green committee resist the pressure to "mediocritize" the course?

someone who feels 3 1/2 inch rough is needed to challenge players "consistent with it's pedigree", is either misinformed, or overestimating the
"pedigree" of the course.
I would argue that 3 1/2 inch rough would "mediocritize" more courses than 2 1/2 rough.

That said, it's been a wet spring and grass does grow.
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2012, 11:13:38 AM »
Jim,

Ignore the comments by all of the bozos  ;D

You can't address the issue until you factor in all or most of the issues.

For example, are your fairways wide, narrow or medium ?
If they're wide, a case can be made for difficult rough.
GCGC and Mountain Ridge have wide fairways and difficult rough.

Secondly, it's rained a good deal lately and the rough everywhere in the area is thick and difficult, hence you have to consider it's difficulty under normal, not very wet conditions.

You can reward accuracy off the tee in a number of ways, and one of them is to have difficult rough.

Is your course on the short or long side ?
Aronomink for example would be a long difficult course without challenging rough as a defense.
Other shorter courses might require difficult rough as an integral part of their defenses,

But, you shouldn't alter play/the course in order to accomodate the lowest common denominator amongst your golfers.

Once you've assembled all of the influencing factors, you can make a prudent argument.

Without the facts, you'll just sound like TEPaul ;D

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2012, 11:45:29 AM »
If I were dictator:

Wide fairways

10' of 1-1/2" first cut

2-21/2" of rough

No rough around the greens, many options

JMEvensky

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2012, 11:54:42 AM »

Heavy rough is the last refuge of a greenkeeper who is either:


--burdened with a course without sufficient design subtlety to provide a recovery challenge to wayward shots even if the grass is cut low enough for even a 15 handicapper with astigmatism to find and play his or her ball



Lowering the rough is a harder call when your golf course features flattish greens and little/no strategic angles.In my part of the world,this describes most of the courses.

That said,3.5 inch rough sounds borderline masochistic--but I normally play golf courses with bermuda rough.Nobody wants to play 3.5 inch bermuda rough.

Steve_ Shaffer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2012, 01:09:20 PM »
Jim,

Obviously, your club does not have membership problems as opposed to LuLu where I recently played. The rough there is a major barrier in attracting new members IMO. LuLu certainly has an impressive pedigree but my preference is to have some degree of fun when playing golf regardless of who designed the course and/or its high rating in the golf mags. High rough is not fun.


"Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses ... "  Adlai Stevenson
Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone: "We're bigger than US Steel."
Ben Hogan “The most important shot in golf is the next one”

cary lichtenstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2012, 01:47:13 PM »
too high...what's the point?
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Dan Herrmann

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2012, 01:59:54 PM »
Jim - it's funny - I was just talking to our head greenkeeper in Friday and I was praising his work.  He laughed and said that he was pretty happy with the course, but had been getting a lot of complaints about the rough.  We discussed shortening its length - pros and cons.

Unfortunately, one of the last things our old super did was aerate the rough and seed with bluegrass.  Before that it was fescue with some native grasses.  It was a penal in spots and easy in others, in line with it being the "roughway".  Personally, I thought it was an awesome feature of the course.

Jim - I think your course (which I LOVE) would be pretty brutal with 3.5" rough - if nothing else than to find your golf ball.  I don't have any problem with forcing a wedge recovery shot, but you need to be able to find your ball if you're 5' off the fairway.

But - like Patrick said, it's been perfect weather for growing grass, and roughs everywhere are thick and succulent.  You know Philly - it'll get very hot and humid and our precipitation will come from thunderstorms.  If you're in a dry spot, you'll see your 3.5" rough thin out and all will be happy.


mike_malone

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2012, 04:32:42 PM »
I'm at the same course and I say " stop complaining about the rough in the spring".
AKA Mayday

Jim_Coleman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maintenance Issue: How High the Rough?
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2012, 05:02:22 PM »
   I appreciate everyone's response.  I have been coming off my "don't mediocratize the course" position lately, and this thread has moved me further in that direction.
   Let me answer some of the factual questions.  We have some (but certainly not Merion's) pedigree.  We have hosted a Women's Open and will be hosting a Women's Amateur.  In Pa., we have hosted all the major events, and are considered a great Flynn course.  We are of modest, but not short length - tees at 6300, 6600 and 6900, par 70/71.  I would say our fairways are of average width, and there is considerable rough area (20 or more yards) to tree lines or boundaries.  Yes, it has been a good spring for growing grass.
   I think one thing that annoyed some (undoubtedly a minority) of the members is that we hosted an Amateur qualifier last year with a neighboring club with a lower reputation and were 2 strokes easier - in part because our rough was quite tame.
  I still feel that it is a mistake to cater to the higher handicapped majority, and that great courses are great in part because they don't do that.  But there degrees, I suppose.

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