Column: Only you can prevent poor greens


Most golfers caught at least some of the U.S. Open over Father’s Day weekend. The course’s imprint is still fresh on the mind for those that watched. Impressions of it were a mixed bag, but one thing many people agreed on is that the conditions of the greens were up to tournament standards and how much fun they would be to roll a few putts on.

Greens make or break a golf course more than anything else. An average golfer is going to take anywhere from 30 to 40 shots each round on the putting surface and whether your aiming well or not, you want to feel like the outcome is under your control.

On Saturday I made my second trip to Jasper Hills Golf Club since it opened last May, but it was the first to actually step onto the links and experience the terrific work which has been put in to restore the land into playing shape.

I always like to arrive at least 20 minutes early to practice my short game and get a feel for green speeds. There were two discoveries I made this trip. The first is I should be spending more time on controlling the distance of my pitch shots. The second is how immaculate the practice surface is to use.

Even with it being a public course, you will not step onto something that gives more of a private-style vibe. Every roll seemed true, the speed was challenging, and the grass was squeaky clean. My excitement level skyrocketed knowing there were 18 holes of these greens which awaited my arrival.

It makes me disappointed and frustrated at what followed. None of it was directed at the greenskeepers which are still restoring a fun track. I felt bad for them because of you … the weekend warrior.

Trying to secure a tee time is an easy way to figure out if a course is popular. Not getting a spot until in the late afternoon, lots of fellow players were going to get off the first tee before me and get onto the course.

After the initial set of holes, it was getting easier to figure out some of the areas which were popular targets for players. They were filling up the greens with untreated ball marks that displayed some decent accuracy. But that also gave me information from groups ahead that I should not have been learning, because those ball marks should have already been fixed.

Anyone understands you’re going to get some marks on greens near the cup. Other than the tee box, it’s the only spot on a golf course you can almost assure all players will take a step on. If you’re 20 feet away though, lining up your putt shouldn’t have to involve staring at a spot a screeching liner made first contact before flying past the fringe.

My observations were only in spots. I don’t want to give the impression of an appearance looking like the aftermath of detonated mine fields. It’s more of a compliment to the course’s crew for the condition they are maintaining their dance floors. Their work makes it more noticeable what a terrible job some hackers are doing in keeping their part.

Decent green divot tools can be purchased for as little as $8. The one I have put in a lot of work cleaning up the mess you left behind to help myself, my playing partners, and the groups behind me.

Smoother greens help the short game of all golfers. Instead of picking up another 500 pack of tees, get a divot tool instead, use it, and do your part to keep some of the best surfaces in the area fun for everyone to play.

On the scorecard, the second rule under etiquette reads, “Repair ball marks after you admire your great shot.”

Maybe more of you just need to believe you hit a better shot than you gave yourself credit for so you’ll help your fellow golfer.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_. He shot 89 and recalls eight swings he flubbed and wishes had made a stronger committment to making before the swing.

No posts to display