The Golf Course Confessional: Heads and holes in the ground

Most golfers have not seen the whole process by which a golf hole is moved.  So here is a progression of pictures that tells the tale.DSC00537


The process begins with locating the site of the new hole.  Typically, this location will be significantly far away from the hole being moved, to avoid additional compaction from golfer traffic.  Most holes will be located a minimum of 3 to 4 paces from the edge of the green.  The location should be reasonably flat.  Once the location is set, an aluminum plate is placed on the grass for the worker to stand on while making the new hole.  The cup cutter is inserted through a hole in the plate that is just a bit larger than the cutter.  This allows the worker to rotate the cup cutter and remove plugs without lifting the turf around the new hole.  DSC00538


Normally, a new hole can be cut with about three “plugs.”  The first plug usually is as deep as the grass roots have extended into the soil.  This plug is placed adjacent to the hole being moved, so it can be positioned on the top later.DSC00539


The cup is pulled from the old hole location by means of a cup puller that engages the drain holes in the bottom of the cup.  DSC00540


When the full amount of soil has been removed from the new cup location  and transferred to the old cup placement the worker pours about a cup of water over the soil plugs and then places the grass plug on top, tamping it down with his shoe.  Then he uses a tool to “stitch” the edges of the plug to the new location, and to level the area for proper mowing.




Sometimes the new hole needs to be cleaned out more so the cup will fit properly.  A tool with a blade to scrape the bottom of the new hole flat accomplishes that nicely.  DSC00544

The edge of the new hole is a bit rough.  There are leaves and roots of the grass that overhang the edge.  We need a clean putting target, so a light trim is done.  The clippings fall into the hole to decompose below the cup.  Now we are ready to set the cup.DSC00542


The cup should be placed so the top edge of the metal is approximately one inch below the surface.  That allows a properly stroked putt to impact the soil or turf at the back of the hole rather than bounce off the metal cup.  The cup setter is designed to provide this setting automatically. DSC00543

Here is the new hole.  All it needs is the flag.  The spots around the hole are Dollar Spot fungus.  We see this every year when the overnights are moist and warm, as we have had for the last couple of weeks with the rains.


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