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Jason Topp

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do greens droop over time
« on: October 04, 2023, 04:45:47 PM »
I played a golden age course recently that I suspect has not had much work done over its existence.  The greens sloped quite significantly in the direction the general ground sloped.  Putting was difficult but quite fun on a short par 31 nine hole course. 


It got me to wondering whether greens tend to tilt more downhill over time?  I know courses evolve and I also know that at the speeds the greens played originally, the slopes would have been very reasonable. 


Anyone in the treehouse have knowledge on this topic?

Charlie Goerges

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2023, 05:02:50 PM »
I'm curious about this and other types of evolution that occur. The famous example being Pinehurst #2's greens.


Additionally, are there ways to track green changes going forward using technology in some way?
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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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2023, 05:11:55 PM »
It’s possible that if a green is built from fill, it might settle fractionally in the first couple of years after that, but I’ve only seen that once.


Much more likely that the greens you saw had enough tilt to matter when they were slower, and modern green speeds have made them feel different.  Welcome to the club!

Wayne_Kozun

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2023, 05:37:38 PM »
Raised tee boxes tend to settle and you often see them become more crowned over time.  It wouldn't be surprising if greens did the same.

Tom_Doak

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2023, 08:18:30 PM »
Raised tee boxes tend to settle and you often see them become more crowned over time.  It wouldn't be surprising if greens did the same.


The crowning is due to wear and tear and to maintenance practices - not to settling.

Erik J. Barzeski

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2023, 09:43:18 PM »
This question came up at the ASGCA annual meeting… briefly, because the answer was a resounding "no." Not if the greens are built remotely close to "properly" (with various methods considered "proper" - not just a USGA green or something).
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, Instructor/Coach, and Lifetime Student of the Game.

I ignore Rob, Tim, and Garland.

Mark_Fine

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2023, 02:21:43 PM »
Greens might not droop over time but they definitely change over time due to normal play (sand splash from green side bunkers) as well as maintenance practices.


Charlie, Pinehurst #2’s greens are a whole separate discussion.  They have changed DRAMATICALLY from what was once there. 

Charlie Goerges

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2023, 02:44:22 PM »
Greens might not droop over time but they definitely change over time due to normal play (sand splash from green side bunkers) as well as maintenance practices.


Charlie, Pinehurst #2’s greens are a whole separate discussion.  They have changed DRAMATICALLY from what was once there.




Fair enough on PH #2 being a whole different discussion (I just brought it up as a famous example of green evolution). I'm curious how and how much greens change and about ways to track it.
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

Randy Thompson

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2023, 06:21:38 PM »
 The technology is here to track through surveying. If the greens were originally constructed properly they shouldn´t droop or settle. The surfaces will raise in relation to their immediate surroundings if the club is on a frequent topdressing program. In greens constrcuted twenty five years ago, the gravel or coarse sand layer is 18 inches from the surface and the original base was 12 inches. So the actual surface evolved and raised six inches but the three feet outside the green remains the original level. I call it the, “volcano effect”. If the top dressing are completed correctly in a uniformed manner, there is no reason the actual surfaces should change in the percentage of slope after the first year. I have seen a few recent constructed push up greens that have had some minor settling and over the years and I have seen minor settling in a few greens that the bases were constructed in prolonged rainy periods.

Niall C

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2023, 06:18:18 AM »
This question came up at the ASGCA annual meeting… briefly, because the answer was a resounding "no." Not if the greens are built remotely close to "properly" (with various methods considered "proper" - not just a USGA green or something).


Erik


If I read you correctly, what you are saying or what the members of ASGCA are saying is that a modern green if built properly to modern standards will not droop or settle. That kind of begs the question of how do they know for certain what their greens will be like in a hundred years time ? It's an easy assertion to make when you're not going to be around to find out the answer.  ;)


However, I say that as an aside. Jason's question seems to me to be more about golden age greens. I suspect that the answer is yes they do on occasion settle and indeed droop. I was a member at one Old Tom/James Braid course where a greenside bunker was filled in because the green was "sliding" into it.


Niall

Tom_Doak

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2023, 08:25:25 AM »

However, I say that as an aside. Jason's question seems to me to be more about golden age greens. I suspect that the answer is yes they do on occasion settle and indeed droop. I was a member at one Old Tom/James Braid course where a greenside bunker was filled in because the green was "sliding" into it.



The soils would have to be pretty awful for that to happen.


I can think of one similar case in my work:  the 3rd green at Stonewall.  We pushed some of it out into what was a natural swale, and we didn't have a lot of extra material to hold it up, and it had a lot of slope in that section [3% or 4% from memory].  Over time it has gotten more severe.  But I don't think it's actually settled . . . I think that topdressing has built up the green a few inches over twenty years, so that the edge going down into the swale is that much steeper.


It is way way more common for greens get built up from topdressing over the years, than to settle.  Most of the greens at Crystal Downs are at least 6-8 inches higher in relation to their surrounds than when I joined the club, as they try to build up sand on what was very poor original greens mix.  Where there used to be a flat collar, there is now a steeply pitched one, or they've moved the green edge a couple of feet uphill to compensate.

Erik J. Barzeski

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2023, 08:57:40 AM »

If I read you correctly, what you are saying or what the members of ASGCA are saying is that a modern green if built properly to modern standards will not droop or settle.
They said "greens don't settle."


That kind of begs the question of how do they know for certain what their greens will be like in a hundred years time ? It's an easy assertion to make when you're not going to be around to find out the answer. 
Seeing as how we can laser map greens to a millimeter these days, I think they can know in a year or two or ten if their greens have "drooped."


I suspect that the answer is yes they do on occasion settle and indeed droop.
I suspect that you suspect incorrectly.


The soils would have to be pretty awful for that to happen.
You know, Tom, all those greens built on top of trees that were just cut down and not fully removed? Those stumps and roots eventually just rot out and the green "droops." Like the trees I had removed from my yard where I had to keep refilling the hole with topsoil and sand to help it stay level… right? There's gotta be tens of green built on old tree stumps like that…   (I do sometimes wonder about old landfills, though - but to your point, probably not the greatest of soils.)
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, Instructor/Coach, and Lifetime Student of the Game.

I ignore Rob, Tim, and Garland.

Charlie Goerges

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2023, 10:08:16 AM »
So drooping and settling are very rare, but raising up is far more common.


What I'm curious about then is why some old greens get that slightly-raised appearance and some seem to still be at original grade. Are the slightly-raised greens being topdressed only on the putting surface itself, while the seemingly at-grade greens are being topdressed on the surrounds as well, raising the whole complex and surround? Or is something else going on?


(I have no idea, I'm just trying to figure out why I see what I see)
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

Niall C

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2023, 12:47:13 PM »

However, I say that as an aside. Jason's question seems to me to be more about golden age greens. I suspect that the answer is yes they do on occasion settle and indeed droop. I was a member at one Old Tom/James Braid course where a greenside bunker was filled in because the green was "sliding" into it.



The soils would have to be pretty awful for that to happen.



Tom


I'm in no way an agronomist but I'd classify it as bog standard inland clay soil that you tend to get in these parts, while Robert Price categorises the course as being of a parkland vegetation and sitting on gravel terraces alongside a river. Soils aside the issue with the green is probably that it is benched into a fairly steep slope as you often see over here.


Thinking of other benched in greens that I've seen; a couple at Greenock Whinhill for example; 1st green at Bridge of Allan perhaps ?; at Skelmorlie; and all of the square 20 paces by 20 paces variety and with definite fall-aways at the side of the green nearest the bottom of the slope. Bear in mind that these type of greens were built flat (often by the guys who built bowling greens !) so I'd assume any slope on them now is down to slippage or drooping.


Niall     

Niall C

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2023, 01:03:09 PM »
Should also have added that the flat square greens that I've seen built on generally level ground don't have a domed surface as far as I recall or at least if they have it is minimal. Of course a lot of these courses where square greens still exist or generally of the rural rustic type where greenkeeping has perhaps been rudimentary or minimal over the years so perhaps nothing like the same level of topdressing you see on a bigger budget course.


Niall

Bruce Katona

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Re: do greens droop over time
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2023, 01:16:48 PM »
Crowned tees are a bug-a-boo of mine.  Anywhere I play I like to look and see how the topdressing has been handled over time.  Having a well used tee look like a cross section of a roadway (a u turned upside down) significantly decreases usable teeing area, resulting in more wear and tear on the flatter areas of the tee - usually in the middle.  Its really not that difficult to top dress properly.


Sand splash from the greenside bunker up onto the green, which raises the grade and creates that thin grass/sand worn look is my second pet peeve.


Soggy bunkers that drain poorly round out my trifecta.

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