This past weekend my home course, Hasentree Country Club, had its annual Club Championship. I had every intention of playing until other plans came up. I had the opportunity to visit Congressional Country Club just outside of Washington, DC but more on that later. During the Club Championship one of my friends sent me a text telling me the greens were rolling at 14.5 on the stimpmeter. Upon returning to Wake Forest to play Hasentree last week I asked one of the tour pros what it was rolling. They said it got as fast as 14.6 in the morning. That is just crazy!
I also asked the tour pro the fastest he had ever heard of. He told me one of this friends worked at a course that got their greens up to 16 for a putt putt tournament. While at Congressional Country Club I asked one of the employees in the pro shop the fastest they had cut their greens. They mentioned they were rolling about 12.5 or 13 on that day in which there was a local tournament. The employee stated that if Congressional were to cut their greens to roll at 14.5 there is no way the golfers could keep the ball on the green. I know all about that.
I played Hasentree on Thursday prior to the Club Championship. There is no doubt in my mind that the greens were rolling about 13.5 or 14 on that particular day in early October. I tend to be a very good lag putter as Hasentree has taught me how to “touch” putt around the greens. There are certain days in which I simply want to have a three footer or less for my second putt. To say I do not race them by is to say it nicely. I tend to ease them up to the cup and walk away with a two putt. This is something you have to do when greens are rolling extremely fast.
14 green at Hasentree – Yes, I missed that putt for birdie
On the first green of Hasentree, on Thursday prior to the Club Championship, I race my 35 foot putt all the way off the green. I kid you not. This is coming from a guy that does not putt the ball hard. As soon as it left my putter face I knew that it was going to be an extremely difficult day of putting. I was able to putt from off the green and save par, which was a feat in and of itself. Throughout the entire day I was putting with great hesitation even on the two and three footers. It is amazing what nerves will do to you when you are putting on extremely fast greens.
After the Club Championship, Hasentree has let the greens grow out a bit and they were running around 12 or 12.5 when I played on the Thursday after the Championship. It is amazing how different the putting was. I had three birdies on one putts on the back nine. I shot a 38 on the back with a double bogey on a par 5. My game is coming around and I hope to shoot par or better on the back nine one of these days. I honestly don’t think par or better on the front nine will happen in the near future. There are three par 4s that play over 430 yards on the front 9. I simply don’t have the power to play par golf as I am hitting 5 woods into the green on these holes.
Fast greens are so helpful to my short game. I wish more public courses cut their greens to 12 or 13. I know this isn’t going to happen for maintenance reasons. That said, I would like to know the fastest greens you have ever played? I know they say Augusta runs 14 or 15 on the weekends during the Masters. Other greens in the south are extremely fast. If Pinehurst cut #2 to 14 or 15 no one could play the course. Just ask John Daly. So, what is your ideal speed when it comes to the stimpmeter? Would you rather play fast greens or slow greens?