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High Definition Golf…

The weather in Florida this winter has been deplorable, often not fit for man nor beast and certainly not for golf. We normally play three games a week, but this winter we have barely averaged one. For days on end there was no golf because of rain, cold north winds and frost delays.

With the money not spent on green fees accumulating, we cast our frugal habits aside and bought an HD flat screen television that now dominates our living room. For the past three weeks I have been glued to the screen. First the Blue Monster in Miami, next the Copperhead in Tarpon Springs and most recently the Bay Hill course in Orlando. What a feast for the eye. The quality of the picture is so good it makes one feel as if one is sitting on the green while the players are putting.

The level of maintenance peaked for all three events and the superintendents earned high marks for the product presented. Yet, because of the high definition broadcast, every little imperfection showed to the experienced observer. Something as tiny as a missing paint  chip on the soil above the cup was clearly visible and an old plug, a tad low from a previous hole location, did not escape the eye. Of course most casual viewers are mainly interested in the competition and would not notice.

It seems to me that the era of excessive striping is coming to an end. The mowing patterns are more subdued now. While the popular trend is to provide fast and firm conditions with a tint of brown an acceptable hue, all three courses were as green as Ireland. It is amazing how fast and smooth the greens overseeded with Poa trivialis putt. It makes one wonder why some courses up north aren’t using Poa triv instead of struggling with bent and/or Poa annua.

While the popular trend is to provide fast and firm conditions with a tint of brown an acceptable hue, all three courses were as green as Ireland…

While all three courses were in exceptional condition and a great credit to their respective superintendents, I suspect that of the three, Bay Hill had the highest budget… but that’s speculation on my part.

We have postponed our usual return to Ontario until after The Masters so we can continue to watch HD golf. More than likely I will have to break down and buy another HD TV for our home up north. Now that’s supporting the North American economy or more than likely, the Chinese economy.

During all three events I did not miss Tiger in the least. In fact, I now have a new hero: Ernie Els! I’ll be cheering him on when he plays in Augusta.

3 Responses to “High Definition Golf…”

  • Steven Neuliep:

    Gordon,
    While you may not be missing Tiger, his fellow professionals and the tv networks sure are. The statistics simply do not lie and when Tiger plays, people watch!! Will be interesting in Augusta to see how he fares, as I would wager that CBS is hoping that he makes the cut and that he is in the top 10!!

  • Gordon,

    Poa triv is a highly underrated grass for putting greens. It is an exceptional cool season putting surface and doesn’t thatch up like the latest generation of super dense bents. It is also the first fine turfgrass to green up in the Spring. It is extremely competitive with annual bluegrass since it can outgrow it in the short days and cool weather. And contrary to popular belief, some varieties and ecotypes are very heat and acute drought tolerant.

    I have seeded it and recommended it for shady greens and tees since I was exposed to it while working for Richie Valentine at Merion where it had been used on the 7th green on the West course for decades. At Rolling Green I used it on the 16th green along with redtop. A friend of mine on the California coast has been using triv on his annual blegrass greens because it seems to be less affected by nematode problems.

    All of the Poa triv. breeding programs were and still are strictly for the over-seed market where darker color and higher seed yields are all that matters and heat tolerance would be a negative for transition.

    Sitting in my windowsill are two pots of a Poa triv. that I found on bent greens in the desert. Its been on those greens for close to 15 years and never blinks in the Summer heat. Maybe we’ll have a great triv for greens soon.

    All my best.

  • Hi Gordon,

    Another great blog. I never miss one! Enjoy the Masters. By the way is that you and clear the track Shack in high definition? You guys even look better in high definition.

    Enjoy a nice lemonade on ice on Sunday while watching the Masters. I’ll be thinking of you.

    Keep up the great writing.

    Regards,

    Ron.