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Penn Tucker wants more information on his previous question, ‘What is meant by the term 'Sunday Pin'?’

By: Jeffrey D. Brauer


Sunday Pin Greens aren't the best design for every situation, and 18 greens of them wouldn't provide the desired variety. So, I use other green types, usually two examples of each, split among par-3, short par-4 and par-5 holes, and well spread out through 18 holes, as a change of pace, where appropriate.

Precision Greens feature an "all-or-nothing" approach, presenting a small, well-guarded target that is often raised to reject shots. They usually have flat putting surfaces, to compensate for the difficulty in reaching them, and to provide the superintendent enough cup-setting areas.

These are penal designs and can slow play and frustrate poor golfers. However, even new golfers like the occasional forced carry. I vary the concepts and hazards, surround one with sand and the other with fairway chipping areas, water, or rough.

I use these on many hole types. They challenge any short approach shot. Ball marks are a problem on short-iron holes. Therefore, I often use fairway-level, well-guarded (but with open front) precision greens on the longest par-3 hole as a long-iron challenge for better players, where I control shot length for others using multiple tees, and on the longest par-4 , where average players will approach with a wedge, and a small green is an "equalizer,*" as it is better suited to a short third.

Double- and Triple-Target Greens use green shape, exterior hazards and putting-surface divisions – like tiers, ridges or valleys – to create distinct pin areas within a green. Since the dividing contours can kick shots far from the cup, leaving a difficult putt, punishment is not always proportional, and some golfers dislike these greens. Their large size and greater contours can cause three-putting. They are often superior choices to small precision greens as they require accuracy, but their large size can alleviate shade, ball-mark and air-circulation problems.

I can place both the green axis and the pin area divisions lengthwise, sideways, or angled, creating numerous design options. Since we can't place cups too close to any interior ridge**, ridges are usually nearly perpendicular to green edges, and divide the green's long dimension, to provide at least 40 feet of target on each side. Other arrangements cause lost pin areas. And these greens must be larger than average.

Multiple target greens suit any short approach shot, where the precision required and possible penalties are both acceptable. The best use of a two-target green on long par-4 holes is a two-tier green along the line of play when downwind, as players like to use the deck to hold shots with reduced spin.

Concept Greens demand a golfer pull off a specific and often unusual shot. I like these, and will incorporate as many of these as the owner or greens committee will allow. Those who like golf "standardized" often object to these, but many great holes follow these concepts:

• Redan or Punch Bowl, where you hit a kick-in bank rather than directly at the flag to attain the target.

• Biarritz, where you negotiate a deep valley in the middle of the green, often using a low, rolling shot.

• Reverse Slope or Side Slope, where you must hit short or to the side and let green contour get the ball to the hole.

• Valley of Sin, favoring a run-up approach.

• Large Rolling Green, usually easy to hit, but once there, the putting is vicious.

Conversation Piece Greens often elicit a "What the %#&^@^%$ reaction, and are unique mostly for the sake of being unique. Some conversation piece greens I have built include Ultra Wide or Ultra Narrow Greens, Divided Green (by creek, bunker, or tree) and Square or L-shaped Greens. Others have built greens inspired by letters, continents, animals and the female anatomy!

As strategic value is often compromised, I use these sparingly, and then wait quietly for the criticisms to die down, which usually takes about 50 years or so . . . I'll let you know

* This comes from a 1970s TV show of the same name, where average citizens got unexpected help from a former government agent.

** Four distinct green areas are more like miniature golf, and rarely look good.