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Doug Siebert

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Pins cut close to the fringe
« on: August 11, 2012, 09:08:21 PM »
In recent years it's been a trend to see pins cut closer and closer to the fringe for tour events.  Like many things that happen on tour, they filter down to our local courses.  I played yesterday for the first time in six weeks (other than one scramble, my first time since Dismal River) and saw a few pretty amazing pins.  On the first and third holes, the pins were cut 8 and 9 feet from the edge, respectively.  I see pins cut near the edge once in a while, but I'm pretty sure nine feet was the closest I'd ever seen before.  On 14 it was SIX FEET.  I measured it with the flag, from the edge of the cup to the fringe was the bottom of the pin to the bottom flag hook.

They aren't saving the greens for an upcoming tournament, and the greens themselves are surprisingly in the best shape I've ever seen them.  Pretty slow, but looking beautiful.  Strange to say that considering how hot it was in July, but I guess since the drought meant it wasn't as humid as in typical summers it wasn't that hard on the greens, combined with it being so hot that they had very little play in July until the heat broke last weekend.  There was no reason at all to put the flags that close to the edge since this course has reasonably large greens, and it was just these few holes, there were some middle positions used on other holes.  It's obvious they're just copying what they see on tour - and maybe going a bit overboard.

It doesn't really matter to me, you play the course as you find it.  I'm curious if others are seeing this sort of thing when they play.  Usually you only think about putting off the green when there's a downslope involved, but if the pins get much closer to the edge trying to aggressively ram a three foot uphill putt could see you putt into the fringe :)
My hovercraft is full of eels.

mike_beene

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2012, 09:12:06 PM »
One of these days there will be a concession on a ball off the green that  is in the leather

Matthew Runde

Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2012, 09:37:37 PM »
I've long felt that, aesthetically, the flagstick should be able to fall over in any direction and remain entirely on the green.  I would prefer that it have one or two feet to spare.  Anything closer to the fringe makes the green appear to be too small, and that makes the course seem inadequate or cheap.

Joe Leenheer

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2012, 10:41:16 PM »
Hole locations are chosen for various reasons....but here is my strategy.

When I set them I try to think of where the players may be in their round.

Example: reachable par 5 in first round...easy to medium difficulty location. Final round...I try to make it more risk/reward allowing players to choose how they want to attack it.  That may involve tucking it or placing it near a ridge.

I feel I've done a good job when I get comments like "I've never seen the hole there" as long as it's not followed up with a negative comment.

P.S.  if a flag is close to the edge that means you have a lot of green to work with on the other side.

The only thing you want to avoid is a hole location that is so difficult that it in itself will alter the result of an event.

P.S.S. in match play I prefer docile hole locations allowing the players to decide the result of a match.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 10:43:24 PM by Joe Leenheer »
Never let the quality of your game determine the quality of your time spent playing it.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2012, 11:58:02 PM »
Doug,

In general, I like the trend toward the perimeters.

For years, holes tended to be located far from the perimeter, in almost monotonous locations

At some courses, you could predict, and at many you still can, where the holes will be cut on Tuesdays and Sundays.

I've noticed over recent years that the hole locations at many courses have become far more interesting, and far more challenging, mentally and physically.  I like that.

I've heard dozens and dozens of golfers claim that they've never played the hole when the cup was cut at some of these locations.

Again, the variety alone is worth it.

And, it certainly expands your margin of error to the long side. 

Matthew Rose

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2012, 01:28:36 AM »
I've seen a pin cut approximately 3-4 feet from the back edge of a green, right in the middle. On a muni. It was a 150 yard par-3 with a green that sloped mostly back to front, so the pin was essentially on the highest point. From the tee, it looked like it wasn't even on the putting surface.
American-Australian. Trackman Course Guy. Fatalistic sports fan. Drummer. Bass player. Father. Cat lover.

David_Elvins

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2012, 02:23:12 AM »
The need to cut a pin within 10 feet of the edge of a green is reflective of  poor maintenance or poor architecture.

If greens are designed with thought and maintained with firm conditions, there is no need for pins to be cut within 10 feet of the edge of greens. 

It's an easy way to pick a bad golf course on TV.
Ask not what GolfClubAtlas can do for you; ask what you can do for GolfClubAtlas.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 07:20:15 AM »
The old rule of thumb used to be no closer than the length of a standard flagstick but I guess it depends on the green in the end.

Jon

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2012, 07:44:42 AM »
The need to cut a pin within 10 feet of the edge of a green is reflective of  poor maintenance or poor architecture.

If greens are designed with thought and maintained with firm conditions, there is no need for pins to be cut within 10 feet of the edge of greens. 

This is very incorrect.
I tend to think pins cut inside the flagstick is not appropriate but thats say 6 or 7 feet. 9 feet is very common for tournament pin positions, you quite often see 3 from a side. For tournaments inside 3 is too tough but certainly for courses where the greens are small it is actually good maintenance to use the area between 6 and 9 feet from the green edge, that 1 metre band represents about another 50-75 squared metres of pinnable area which is significant on a 350 sq metre green that is minus 150 squared metres for that 2 metre band, ie 200 sq m left if you go within 2 or about 150 sq m left if you look at a 3 sq m zone. Just because greens are small it does not represent in itself poor architecture, budgets, time need to be considered.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

David_Elvins

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2012, 08:38:42 AM »
This is very incorrect.
You are probably right, I will say "8 feet" to be conservative but that is my final offer. 
Ask not what GolfClubAtlas can do for you; ask what you can do for GolfClubAtlas.

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2012, 09:08:19 AM »
I accept your final offer. ;D
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Tim Bert

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2012, 10:28:03 AM »
I think the combination of 1) how close to the edge of the green is the pin and 2) how difficult is it to keep the ball on the green in that particular portion of the green if putting from a reasonable distance go hand in hand.

Cut the pin three feet from the edge of the green for all I care.  Build and maintain false fronts and dastardly regions of the green that threaten a poorly struck putt will fall off the green.  Just don't combine the two practices.  If the pin is to be cut in a wicked portion of the green then allow for the 10 foot margin proposed by Mr. Elvins.

Adam Clayman

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2012, 10:53:54 AM »
One of the most asked question is "Is that an illegal pin?"

There is no rule. Only guidelines. I've always thought 6 feet (2 yards) was the limit of the guideline.

In the end, this is what separates sportsmen from 'players'.

A sportsman will cherish the variety, challenge and uniqueness. A player will whine, while questioning the fairness.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2012, 11:08:25 AM »
You need to think more about conserving the green. Its not all about perfect daily set ups, you cant always have best pins, sometimes you have the not so good one. The maintenace crew will rotate the pins to best mitigate wear and compaction problems in the best interest of the whole putting surface at the same time delivering the best pins for the tournament or important play.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Doug Siebert

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2012, 10:27:52 PM »
I've seen a pin cut approximately 3-4 feet from the back edge of a green, right in the middle. On a muni. It was a 150 yard par-3 with a green that sloped mostly back to front, so the pin was essentially on the highest point. From the tee, it looked like it wasn't even on the putting surface.



I've seen this on muni/goat track type courses too, I wouldn't be surprised by it.  There's a little cow pasture course just outside of town I play every few years that has extremely small greens.  One of them is less than 25 feet across at it's widest point.  Seeing a pin cut four feet from the edge isn't too weird when it's still less than 20 feet in the other direction :)

I was just surprised to see it on the course I did.  The green I saw it on has a very narrow section in the front (where the pin was) which is only about 20 feet wide, but the green is probably 35 yards deep and at least 30 yards wide when you are 2/3 of the way back.  Parts of it are extremely slopey and you couldn't normally pin there, but the greens were quite slow that day so they could have used one of the really crazy sloped areas at the back of the green.  There is water left and long, pinning a slope in the back, especially back left, would have left quite a terrifying shot, and a high risk of a three putt if you played it safe away from the pin.  Instead, as I was between clubs I took the longer club since a 20 foot wide section of green bracketed by bunkers is a tough target no matter where the pin is.  Boring routine par.

The pin being cut to the edge didn't even affect my play of that hole, but if they were trying to expand into new previously unpinnable areas they should have been looking at the slopes that are unpinnable at the normal green speeds...
My hovercraft is full of eels.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2012, 01:01:57 AM »
The tolerance for this has certainly changed over the years.  In the rule book thirty years ago, it was suggested that "five paces" from the edge of the green was a good rule of thumb. 

I've seen 3 yards used on pin sheets at every USGA event in the past few years, but never less than three.

In general, though, I agree with Tim Bert's suggestions.  If the edge of the green is relatively flat and there's short grass just off the edge, then I don't care how close you cut the hole to the edge.  But if you're getting close to an edge where the ball is going to roll into long rough or down a big slope, then getting too close to the edge is goofy golf. 

It's also silly to see the very edges used on large greens, but on small greens, they may be doing it to spread out the wear and tear.


Matthew Rose

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2012, 01:47:01 AM »
I've seen a pin cut approximately 3-4 feet from the back edge of a green, right in the middle. On a muni. It was a 150 yard par-3 with a green that sloped mostly back to front, so the pin was essentially on the highest point. From the tee, it looked like it wasn't even on the putting surface.

The pin being cut to the edge didn't even affect my play of that hole, but if they were trying to expand into new previously unpinnable areas they should have been looking at the slopes that are unpinnable at the normal green speeds...

Right.... because there happened to be plenty of room in front of the pin and really no trouble behind it, it didn't bother me. I hit the middle of the green and two-putted from 30 feet.

I played that course a couple of hundred times over a period of nearly 15 years, and that was the only time I ever saw it in that spot.
American-Australian. Trackman Course Guy. Fatalistic sports fan. Drummer. Bass player. Father. Cat lover.

Alan FitzGerald CGCS MG

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2012, 06:50:36 AM »
I've always used the three/four paces (ie appox length of a flagstick) as a rule of thumb for fairness

FWIW USGA rules for conducting a competition give guidelines for distance to the edge....

1 Study the design of the hole as the architect intended it to be played. Know the length of the shot to the green and how it may be affected by the probable conditions for the day - that is, wind and other weather elements, conditions of the turf from which the shot will be played, and holding quality of the green.

2 There must be enough putting green surface between the hole and the front and the sides of the green to accommodate the required shot. For example, if the hole requires a long iron or wood shot to the green, the hole should be located deeper in the green and further from its sides than should be the case if the hole requires a short pitch shot. In any case, it is recommended that generally the hole be located at least four paces from any edge of the green. If a bunker is close to the edge, or if the ground slopes away from the edge, the distance should be greater, especially if the shot is more than a pitch. Consideration should be given to fair opportunity for recovery after a reasonably good shot that just misses the green.

3 An area two to three feet in radius around the hole should be as nearly level as possible and of uniform grade. In no case should holes be located in tricky places, or on sharp slopes where a ball can gather speed. A player above the hole should be able to stop the ball at the hole.

4 Consider the condition of nearby turf, especially taking care to avoid old hole plugs which have not completely healed.

5 Holes should be cut as nearly on the vertical as possible, not plumb with the contour of the green.

6 There should be a balanced selection of hole locations for the entire course with respect to left, right, central, front and back positions. For example, avoid too many left positions with resulting premium on drawn or hooked shots.

7 For a competition played over several days, the course should be kept in balance daily as to degree of difficulty. In a stroke competition, the first hole of the first round is as important as the last hole of the last round, and so the course should not be set up appreciably more difficult for any round - balanced treatment is the aim. An old concept of making the course progressively harder round after round is fallacious. One form of balanced daily treatment is to select six quite difficult, six which are moderately difficult and six which are relatively easy.

8 During practice days before a competition, locate holes in areas not to be used during the competition and which will not result in areas to be used being impaired by foot traffic.

9 Anticipate the players' traffic patterns. Locate holes for early rounds so that good hole locations for later rounds will not be spoiled by players leaving the green.

10 In match play, a hole location may, if necessary, be changed during a round provided the players in each match play with the hole in the same location. In stroke play, Rule 33-2b requires that all competitors in a single round play with each hole cut in the same position, but see Exception to that Rule. When 36 holes are played in one day, it is not customary for hole locations to be changed between rounds, but there is no Rule to prohibit changing them. If they are changed, all players should be informed.

11 The greenkeeper who cuts the holes should make sure that the Rules of Golf are observed, especially the requirements that the hole not exceed 4 inches in outer diameter and that the hole-liner be sunk at least one inch below the putting green surface.

full rules for conducting a competition are here (hole location starts on pg 41) http://www.scribd.com/doc/13179773/How-To-Conduct-a-Golf-Competition
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 06:54:10 AM by Alan FitzGerald »
Golf construction & maintenance are like creating a masterpiece; Da Vinci didn't paint the Mona Lisa's eyes first..... You start with the backdrop, layer on the detail and fine tune the finished product into a masterpiece

Scott Stearns

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2012, 02:20:10 PM »
when i see a hole closer than 4-5 paces to the edge during member play, its usually the week before an event--greenkeeper is trying to save locations or distribute wear.

in events, agree that 3 paces seems to be the new normal.

Austin Wade

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2012, 03:14:26 PM »
I played Highland Reserve in the Orlando area a few months back, and was shocked with how many pins were within a pins distance from the edge of the green.  There had to be at least 4 pin locations within 7 feet, and probably 6 or 7 within 12 feet of the edge.  The greens there are not small either.  I assumed there was a tournament that next weekend but I didn't ask after the round. 

Tony Ristola

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Re: Pins cut close to the fringe
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2012, 01:58:50 PM »
One of these days there will be a concession on a ball off the green that  is in the leather

LOL...

I spoke with someone who cut holes on the practice pitching green at a club and they were 3 meters from the green's edge. They were told to go back and cut them to 4 meters, for that is "the standard" (somewhere). As with Mike's post, I had a good howl.

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