When golfers stand over a putt, if they hit it on line and at the right pace they expect to have every chance of holing the putt. The ‘Holing Out’ Test gives golf clubs and their course managers an easy and affordable way of monitoring the reliability of their putting surfaces throughout the year.
The test involves lining up a ramp to try and hole 10 golf balls at set distances from the front edge of the hole. The R&A suggests testing at 3, 6 and 9 feet. During the growing season, when the greenkeeper’s focus is on presenting top quality surfaces, scores of 9 or 10 out of 10 should be expected. The performance of the green should be reviewed if scores start dropping below 8 out of 10 at any time of year.
The ‘Holing Out’ Test has various applications, notably to assess:
- year-round reliability, ideally with weekly assessment to identify issues related to footprinting on overly soft surfaces, disease scarring, grass seed head production, seasonal variation in growth and general wear and tear
- the impact of intensive maintenance procedures. The ‘Holing Out’ Test will identify the degree and longevity of disruption to the reliability of putting surfaces from essential maintenance operations
- preparation for important tournaments. The fairness of proposed hole locations can be assessed using an artificial target, such as tee pegs, to indicate the resting position of balls rolled from any set distance.
The results from this test, used in conjunction with other performance assessments taken on a regular basis, including firmness, smoothness, trueness, speed, soil moisture and organic matter content, as outlined in the R&A Evidence Fields will give a valuable record on which to base informed decision making for ongoing management of putting surfaces.
Find out more about the Holing Out Test.