USGA CEO and executive director Mike Davis believes golf courses should re-think their approach to fast greens when it comes to everyday play.
Speaking at the US Open media day on Wednesday, Davis shared his view that the faster-is-better approach to green speeds should stop.
“I will say, and we’ve said this publicly before, too, this notion that good greens have to be fast greens is bad for golf,” said Davis. “It’s just not good.“
Green speeds at the US Open in recent years have trodden a fine line at times with splotchy surfaces at Chambers Bay in 2015 and slick conditions at Oakmont last year which led to a penalty that nearly cost Dustin Johnson the title.
This year the US Open heads to Erin Hills, set to play at a whopping 7,700 yards, and while the greens will be typically lightning fast, Davis has already described them as being “wonderfully conditioned.”
Davis said: “I can’t remember coming into a US Open where the greens were this smooth. When you hit a putt, if you get it on the right line, the right speed, it will go in here, and we don’t expect to see many things hit and moving sideways.”
The biggest concerns for creating faster greens in the eyes of Davis are cost and pace of play.
“It’s costing the game more money to keep greens fast,” he said.
“It compromises in some cases the health of the greens. It compromises the architectural integrity of the greens sometimes. It certainly hurts pace of play. We would just say that, taking off our US Open hats for a second, that this arms race to get fast greens is not a good thing for the game of golf.”
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