Interesting Facts Regarding the 2011 United States Open

With the United States Open presented by the United States Golf Association being hosted this week outside of Washington D.C. at Congressional Country Club, I thought it might be of interest to sharing some interesting information regarding the tournament.

With the emphasis on green speed the last 20 to 30 years, it is interesting to watch the old videos of golf championships of Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Tony Lima. If you are in the business of golf course management, you often notice that golf courses were not as manicured as many of the championship courses are now.

The thing that stands out the most is how the how the golf balls rolled across the greens… and then came to an abrupt stop. In the table below are the green speeds from the 1978 United States Open at Cherry hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado. Why 1978? It was the first Open where the newly introduced stimpmeter was used as an aid for preparing the greens.

Practice RoundFirst RoundSecond RoundThird RoundFourth Round
8 feet 8.5 inches8 feet 11.5 inches9 feet 4.25 inches9 feet 5.5 inches9 feet 7.75 inches
2.65 metres2.73 metres2.86 metres2.88 metres2.94 metres

The professional golfers that competed in the 1978 Open found the greens to their liking. So the next time you feel your greens are too slow at your course remember that not too many year ago they would have been just fine - even for a U.S. Open.
(adapted and quoted from the United States Golf Association Green Section Record)

The greens for this year's tournament were rebuilt to USGA specification in 2009 and grassed to a blend of Penn A-1 and A-4. The mowing height is 0.10 inches (2.5 millimeters) with the targeted stimpmeter readings between 14 to 14.5 feet.

The fairways range in width from 18 to 35 yards (16 to 32 meters) with an average of 25 yards ( 23 meters) in the prima-ry landing zones. The fairways will be mowed at 0.345 inch (8.7 millimeters).

The crew size at Congressional Country Club is 55 with 3 me-chanics during the tournament. There will be an additional 120 volunteers who are mainly golf course superintendents and assistant superintendents.

For those of you who may not know the United States Golf Association Green Section sends a weekly email regarding agronomic issues facing golf course. Even if you are not in golf, the information is valuable. It is also free. If you are interested in receiving the weekly email click here.