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Ben Hollerbach

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Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« on: January 16, 2015, 10:50:20 AM »
A 1920's Ross course where I used to be a member, and my father still hold membership, was recently sold. The course, like many Ross courses has standard push-up greens. The new owner has talked about "improving" the course by re-doing the greens up to USGA spec.  There is nothing wrong with current set of greens and are one of the stronger features of the course. They may not get up to 13 on the stimpmeter, but some of the slopes on them really wouldn't allow that to happen and keep the course fair. I'm concerned that the work to the greens will inevitably ruin them as much of the nuance and matured character will be removed.

Beyond the classic courses who continue to hold USGA and PGA tour events, how common is it for golden aged courses to replace their original push-up greens with USGA spec greens?

Jason Thurman

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Re: Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2015, 10:59:12 AM »
I recall from reading "Discovering Donald Ross" or maybe "Golf Has Never Failed Me" that Ross used a layering technique of his own in a lot of his push-up greens that was in many ways a precursor to the USGA spec system. I'm currently reading "A Difficult Par," and it sounds like Robert Trent Jones did the same early in his career and prior to the USGA specs. I'll see if I can find the passages when I get a chance.

I'm sure a lot of courses have done what's being discussed to classic-era sets of greens. It's probably useful for some that percolate poorly, but it seems to me that the the ODGs were pretty sensitive to good drainage and percolation on their putting surfaces and a lot of them function very nicely with their original construction.
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Mark_Rowlinson

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Re: Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2015, 11:10:29 AM »
Alwoodley - Dr Mac.

Scott Macpherson

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Re: Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2015, 11:17:44 AM »
Hi Ben,

Moving to USGA Spec greens may (or may not) be the right move for the club, but I get a little nervous when I hear these scenarios because this type of renovation there is a chance of losing the essence of course and its original design features.  It's true that some of the older courses do need to be renovated (e.g. perhaps the greens were to small for the amount of play they now received), but any significant change needs to be entered into with great planning and care. I hope that the course owner is hiring a qualified and caring GCA to advise him/her, and that, should they proceed to carry out any changes, they are done respecting the spirit and strategy of the course.

I am sure you know that there are good tools available now to map the existing contours of a green so they can be replicated, so that can be done. My tendency is to want to do less rather than more considering a renovation of a classic, but only those with all the information can make the decision as to what is best for the club, course and business.

Scott

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2015, 11:32:40 AM »
Another golden age course owner sees the light and might finally get all those faults left by the ODG corrected. I mean look what it has done for Wentworth's GB&I rankings really soaring now. Hopefully they will go for it and flatten all those unplayable slopes at the same time so they can make the course a real challenge by getting the greens stimping at 20+. I mean anything else other than flat and stupid fast is crap ::)


Just what is wrong with these MORONS ???

Jon

Thomas Dai

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Re: Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2015, 11:49:58 AM »
Wasn't there a recent thread herein that highlighted that USGA spec, or rather 'USGA recommendation', greens need to be re-done after 25 yrs?

atb

Joe Hancock

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Re: Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2015, 11:57:22 AM »
Without getting onto an agronomics soapbox, the one statement that stuck out to me most in your post was "They may not get up to 13 on the stimpmeter, but some of the slopes on them really wouldn't allow that to happen and keep the course fair". I'm not sure I've ever encountered any feature on a golf course that had a sense of fair/ unfair, but changing grades to accommodate speed is always an issue. Sometimes the reality of doing business dictates doing so, but when a course has historical significance it should be avoided if possible.

Joe
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2015, 12:27:06 PM »
There was a thread on this very topic a few months ago:

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,59283.0.html
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Mark McKeever

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Re: Golden Age Courses with USGA Spec Greens?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 02:59:34 PM »
Remember that many "microcontours" are built up sand from years of maintenance and sand splash that the architect never envisioned..
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