Missing putts?

Added on February 25th, 2013 by
Posted in General, Greenkeeping


 Where is the value if you keep missing those 6 foot putts?

( Based on an article written for FineGolf  ” The value of the Fine Golfing experience ” by Nick Park. )



The Greenstester

Is it always your fault? What else can you blame after the putter, the ball, the wind, the jangling coins in your opponent’s pocket, the clattering of the butterflies in the adjacent meadow…?

It’s the green, stupid.

But how do you actually, really, really know?

Help is at hand. A new test, developed by The R&A, and called – funnily enough – the Holing Out Test has been launched in conjunction with a tool called the Greenstester

Put these two together and you can check the reliability of a putting surface throughout the year, at no great expense.

This putting robot can hole 10/10 putts from at least 9 feet in summer and from 6 feet in winter on a FineGolf surface, composed of finer and natural grasses.

On a poor surface, it struggles to make 6/10 – so it might not be you who’s missing the putts. Such greens, usually dominated by Poa annua grasses, are often found between October – May.

Holing Out Test, randa holing out test, Greenstester,

The R&A's 'Holing Out Test'

The grief they cause you, this test will find them out.

What then can be done about it ? – getting a good surface for much of the year is not just a question of dropping the mowers or getting out the heavy roller. In that direction lies disaster.

There are, in fact, plenty of other things which need to be monitored before making a clear diagnosis.

For starters, there other performance tests on the green pokies online surface itself. Such as speed ( Stimpmeter readings ), firmness ( called Clegg readings ), moisture content and lastly thatch ( called organic matter ). The golfer may only be interested in surface reliability, speed and firmness – but the greenkeeper needs to keep an eye on all these values, regularly and objectively.

And until recently, he couldn’t. So, clubs have found it difficult to carry out – and stick with – greenkeeping policies which deliver the goods i.e. playing surfaces to please (mostly!) everyone. All the year round.

But there’s a lot more to it than that. The actual nuts and bolts of managing a golf course involve a mix of financial, agronomic and environmental decisions on a daily basis. How to keep tabs on all those, and assess their effects on an annual scale – that boring word “audit” – has been almost too difficult.

Until now. In the last few years, The R&A has been developing a software system which allows clubs to monitor these actions on the course and so help them to chart progress (or decline). It’s free, it’s anonymous and it does not take much time for data entry. And it’s arrived in 2013. ( CourseTracker ).

Using a clever set of filters, clubs can benchmark their data against peers in their country, again with complete anonymity. All four Golf Unions in Britain and Ireland are recommending it to their clubs, and increasing numbers of other countries are joining in.

Back to that 6 foot putt.

If you think you’re missing too many, then have a think about getting your club to check how your course performance is being monitored, as described above. Or it may be worth seeking out those courses where performance monitoring is increasingly being used.

Otherwise, you’re really not trying…and you may keep missing those 6 foot putts.



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