For as long as the game has been played, golf course superintendents have been searching for an answer to setting up hole locations on the green. What are the guidelines for legal hole placement, and when does a specific hole location become “non-conforming” under the Rules of Golf?
Fortunately, the USGA recently published an article in the July-August 2008 issue of the “USGA Green Section Record” that provides some helpful guidelines for setting up hole locations, and it uses the BreakMaster Digital Green Reader as an essential part of the process. The recommended USGA formula takes into account the fact that greens are generally getting faster, but just as important is the amount of slope – and determining the slope amount is where the BreakMaster really shines. The chart below was published in the article as a reference aid for Golf Course Superintendents as it shows the relationship between Green Speed as measured by a Stimpmeter and Maximum Slope as measured by the BreakMaster.
By using this chart, a BreakMaster and a Stimpmeter, Golf Course Superintendents can easily determine positions on the green that are Critical Slope (non-conforming), Marginal Slope, and Recommended Slope (conforming) and set hole positions accordingly for tournaments or daily play. The article, written by Jerry Lemons concludes “By using the chart and checking slopes near the hole, a hole location can be set far enough away from the steep slopes and the edge of the green so that a well executed shot that misses the hole will not run off the green, thus giving the player an opportunity to hole out.” The article concludes “We are fortunate to have digital tools that show instantly the slope on a green (like the BreakMaster). Like the Stimpmeter, every superintendent should have one of the inexpensive tools to help determine “conforming” hole locations.
Prior to the introduction of the BreakMaster, golf course superintendents had only tools like bulky digital levels to aid them in this process. The BreakMaster is far more compact than the much larger digital levels, and what's more, the BreakMaster measures green slope in all directions whereas the digital levels only measure slope in one direction at a time. (Originally Published: August 2008)