I’m not talking about the size of your vegetables but those patches of turf we spend our days trying to hit in regulation.
How can you miss?
My last round of golf included just 7 greens in regulation – that’s about 40%, compared to a PGA tour pro’s GIR stats of 73% (1st) to 53% (200th). But whilst watching golf on the TV, I realised why – these greens are huge! If only the greens I play on every week were that big! These tour pros have it easy, don’t they? Not only do they have 5,000 people to help find their ball, another pro to carry their bags and give them advice, green maps and charts, great quality bunkers and stunning grass – the greens they target are bigger in area than some small countries! How can you possibly miss?
But before I decided to tell myself that my woeful GIR stats were purely down to small greens, I thought I had better check some facts.
After a bit of digging, I discovered that most PGA tour greens are roughly 6,800 sqft in area, that’s about 82 ft square or a 93 ft in diameter on a round shaped green. Using the Google Maps measuring tool, I found that the average green on my home course is about 3,300 sq. ft in area. I was right, my course does have small greens so that perfectly explains my low GIR stat. However, I was also dead wrong. After checking a few other local courses, I found their greens were also 3,300 sqft on average. My excuse is flawed. I’m just not that great after-all.
What if my club’s greens were about 6,800sqft? My GIR number would rise dramatically. But would it? Would I really be a better golfer? Most golf courses we play on are relatively short compared to the long tour courses, maybe 1,300 yds or more shorter. Therefore, our greens tend to be smaller to protect the integrity of the course handicap and the greenkeepers budget. A much longer course with small greens would be very hard to play and a bit unfair.
The long and short of golf
I have never played a 7,400 yd golf course off the back tees and if I did, not only would I probably not be able to reach the fairway, but I would also need a 3 wood for almost every approach shot, including the par 3s. Even then I’d still be short and be putting from a long way off, most of the time. My GIR would probably be 0, and 3 putting would be the norm if I was lucky.
Pros and Cons
So where does this rant actually get me? I’ve realised that maybe the tour pros don’t get it all their own way after-all. Big greens, mean potentially longer, more difficult putts, much longer courses, and both would not be good for my scoring. So next time I see a 600 yd par 5 or a 230yd par 3 on the TV, with bunkers deeper than coal mines and greens the size of Wales, I’ll have to accept I’m just not good enough to play on big greens . . . yet.
How big are the greens on your course? Get measuring and let us know in an email to email@example.com and we’ll mention the biggest and smallest greens in our newsletter.
Neil Hart is a founding director of PuttBANDIT Ltd, co-inventor of the PuttBANDIT Ball Marker. Neil is currently credited with a handicap index of 13.3.
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