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Sunday, July 19, 2015

On Setting Up a Golf Course

After all the controversy surrounding the Open and what makes a course unplayable on Saturday, I thought you might be interested in the basics of how the ruling bodies of golf try to make sure their golf courses are fair.

This video from the USGA and NBC explains how golf courses are measured to determine green speeds, hole placement and relative difficulty. It was made last year, so it focuses on the setup for Pinehurst #2 and, to some degree, on Merion from the previous year. You can be pretty sure this is the same technology the R&A uses when setting up an Open.

This video doesn't explain how wind is taken into account. But since the R&A had to place some of the holes at St. Andrews on high spots because of damp greens, I assume they use some formula that combines the firmness of the green and the stimpmeter readings to determine the maximum potential wind speed the greens can handle.

Unfortunately for the R&A on Saturday, I guess there's no formula that can accurately predict what that maximum wind speed will be when the players tee off.

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