Winter Greens

On several former occasions we have given to Green Committees our opinion of the closing of play of the putting greens of our northern courses through the winter months. Only the other day we happened to overhear mutterings in a locker room. The committee had just announced the intention to close the regular greens for the winter, limiting putting to “temporaries” on the approaches. We harbor a feeling of sympathy for the grumbling players who can see no reason for it. Neither can we. At the same time we realize that the golfers taken by and large in every club are wholly selfish individuals, who offer objections to every effort of a conscientious committee to improve the condition of their course, and sometimes effect an obviously desirable change to one hole or another. If these mutinous kicks could be traced accurately to their sources, it would be found that they had been inspired entirely by the selfish reaction of the individual. “Does this suit me?”

Probably a slight alteration about the green of a certain hole is anticipated. Immediately this assumes terrifically fearful proportions to the player, who finds that his own shortcomings fit rather well into the old scheme. He does not allow his thought to reach beyond self to a possible consideration of the fact that maybe the proposed might after all benefit the course, and inspire the play of others. No, the whole affair is outrageous because it outrages the individual.

Yet sometimes the resenting forces may be right, although we cannot give them credit, for if the playing on the regular greens throughout the winter might injure the turf, they would be indifferent so long as they had what they wanted. But as a matter of fact the closing of the greens for the frozen months is unnecessary.When the turf is inactive no harm may be feared (more to the point if greens were closed to play in the early spring when the frost is coming out of the ground and life is stirring in the plants).

When greens are so softened at any time that sinking feet obviously must make a mess of things, the sensible greenkeeper keeps players off until the condition ends. This is more likely to happen in the early spring, so why deny the players their regular greens when they are firm with inches of frost?


First green of the the Hermitage (NKA Belmont) site of the 1949 PGA