# Jerry Lemons Non-Conforming Hole Locations

must always follow function. A green that looks good but has few hole loca- tions will suffer during stress periods. For a green to disperse golfer traffic, holeable turf area must be present so that turf recovery can occur during the rotation of hole placement. A green typically needs no fewer than 14 days for old hole locations to recover from play. If these 14 areas have a radius of8' (200 sq. ft.), then 2,800 sq. ft. (pi X radius 2 X 14) of space useable for hole locations on the green is needed. The putting surface from the collar inward to 10' contains about

and putting comprises about 40% of the strokes, luck should not come into play. Architects of the Golden Age such as Mackenzie, Tillinghast, Ross, and Maxwell created greens with bold contours. So do a few contemporary architects. The exciting movement in such greens helps to make those courses interesting to play day after day. Even with the steeper slopes, the greens had adequate fair hole locations, and the superintendent was able to move them often enough to allow turf to recover from traffic.

speed and the putts rolled further from the hole and even off the green. As green speeds increase, the potential for uncontrollable slopes becomes inevitable. Committees with years of experience in locating holes can appear foolish when conditions change and hole locations become too difficult. So at what slope, at a given green speed, does a golf ball continue to roll? To determine a "conforming" slope, we need to know the green speed and slope that cause a golf ball to continue rolling. Remember your high school physics: a moving ball tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Gravity (of steep slope) and friction (of the putting sur- face) are unbalanced forces on a golf ball. The Maximum Slope Graph (see Figure 1) shows the Stimpmeter speeds on the left and slope in degrees below. To use this graph, find your current green speed and go to the red area. This is the "critical" slope for that speed; it is where a golf ball will continue roll- ing. The yellow area defines slopes that are marginally conforming, while the green area on the graph defines "con- forming" slopes for a given speed. We are fortunate to have digital tools that show instantly the slope on a green (Smart Tool, Breakmaster). Like the Stimpmeter, every superintendent should have one of these inexpensive tools to help determine "conforming" hole locations. By using one of these instruments, a Stimpmeter, and this graph, it is quite simple to find a fair hole location. Keep in mind that the tools' accuracy in reading slopes depends on the straightedge upon which they are placed. DESIGN OF GREENS - ARCHITECTURE Among those on your list of favorite golf course architects, most all, past and present, placed an emphasis on the putting green. Since every golfer will play each putting green in a round,

Placing digital tools on a Stimpmeter or a straight level improves accuracy.

2,200 sq. ft. This means that a 5,000 sq. ft. green needs all 2,800 sq. ft. of remaining useable space to handle normal golfer traffic. Smaller greens can accommodate play only if addi- tional maintenance practices, such as aerification, are intensified. When steep slopes exist on these greens and are maintained at too fast a putting speed, the functionality of the green diminishes. 17 If the number of reasonable hole locations drops below seven or eight per green because the greens are being maintained too fast, the course may become less enjoyable for regular play. HOLE LOCATIONS In reality, there are several factors to consider when determining a hole location, but if it is cut on the putting surface, it is legal. 18

However, as green speeds have increased, some hole locations on these putting surfaces have become unfair. Greens that had 15-20 fair hole loca- tions may now be reduced to two or three. At today's faster green speeds, these masterpieces can be frustrating to play and even more difficult to main- tain due to damage caused by concentrated traffic. Keep in mind that many greens built prior to the development of the USGA's method for green construction had little or no subsurface drainage. Golf course architects of many classic courses were not only adding character to their putting greens, but they were ensuring good surface drainage on the soil greens. Fast greens as we now know them were simply unheard of FUNCTIONALITY Putting greens must be designed and built to function as intended. Form

A hole should be placed in such a position that no matter where the

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