When it comes to golf, there are various rules and verbiages to remember in order to properly understand the game itself. Sure, you can go out on the course and play a decent game if you know how to solely hit the ball, but if you don’t interpret why you’re shooting speedy, slow, accurate, faulty and everything in between, then you’ll never know how to improve it! One topic that vastly controls your shot and that is highly misunderstood in golf is the subject of: green speed.
Golfers see velocious greens on television or hear about green speeds from their playing partners at a course that they admire, and usually believe that it is exemplary for other courses to aspire to. The truth that most golfers don’t realize is that the conditions of each golf course and its green speed require significant resources to create, may only last for a short time period, and are not appropriate for all golf courses and golfers. Golf course conditions vary based on whether or not they’re made challenging for professionals or average for the local golf course that you and your family enjoy.
Green speed is a golfing misinterpretation that every golfer should understand in order to do better! Here are a few things to always keep in mind when it comes to green speed:
Faster Isn’t Always Better
The chances of green speeds crossing your mind on a daily basis are rare, but there are numerous considerations when articulating the appropriate green speed of a particular golf course. Not only does the course’s grass type and putting green contours affect the golf ball’s speed, but the maintenance budget and skill level of golfers playing are factors to consider as well. Attempting to make greens faster than they’re supposed to be will only lead to worse outcomes such as higher maintenance costs, turf damage, lost hole locations, and ultimately, a slower, less enjoyable golf course! Sacrificing other, various qualities of a golf course in the sole pursuit of green speed makes no sense which is why there is a time and place for seeking higher green speed.
Green Speeds Fluctuate
The weather changes every single day, so it would only make sense that a golf course’s green speed could fluctuate at any given time. The living plants embedded throughout putting greens change and perform differently day to day, season to season. Temperatures, humidity, precipitation and routine maintenance practices all influence daily green speed. The only outcomes of attempting to maintain the same green speed all year with a certain number of course maintenance routines are - damaged greens and undesirable playing conditions!
Green Speeds Don’t Travel
The green speed measurements of one course should not be used to compare the green speeds of another. A green speed that is ideal for one course could be way too fast for a steeper-hilled course that other golfers play on based on their different skill levels. It’s not exactly comparing apples to oranges, but instead comparing sour Granny Smith apples to sweet Honeycrisp apples… it just doesn’t make sense as there are simply too many unique variables involved to make reasonable comparisons.
Green Speeds Cost Money
Higher green speeds mean higher costs to provide the course with the proper conditions. Lower mowing heights, regular topdressing, verticutting and hand-watering are just a few practices required for maintaining faster greens. Additionally, the investments that some courses have to maintain when they have faster greens are usually substantial and beyond the budget of most golf courses! Removing trees and enhancing drainage around the golf course is something that is required on a daily and yearly basis in order to constantly deliver faster greens on the overall course.