Moving the hole on a golf green isn’t a very difficult job, but the greenskeeper must pay attention to all the details to maintain the putting surface in top condition. There are several reasons why the typical golf course changes its hole locations regularly.
Creating the New Hole
According to the Rules of Golf, the hole must be 4.25 inches in diameter and a minimum of 4 inches deep. A greenskeeper uses a hole cutter to create a new hole for the green. He pushes the cutter into the selected spot, then pulls the tool up, removing a plug of turf and dirt from the green. The greenskeeper may then smooth the bottom of the hole to make sure the new cup fits properly. The cup -- which may be taken from the former hole location -- is then inserted into the new hole, with the cup’s edges at least 1 inch below the putting surface. White spray paint may be added around the edges of the new hole to make it easier to see. The greenskeeper will then insert the flag as a final test, to make sure it stands vertically.
Filling the Old Hole
The greenskeeper sets the hole cutter into the former hole location and releases the plug of dirt and turf removed from the new hole. Extra dirt may be added to the hole if the plug isn’t flush with the putting surface. To blend the plug in with the rest of the green, the greenskeeper may poke some very thin holes around the plug’s edges, then step on and around the plug. Extra water may also be added to help the plug’s grass remain healthy.
Why Holes Are Moved
There are two main reasons why golf holes are moved daily on many courses. First, if the holes weren’t moved the immediate area around each hole would be worn down by the constant use. Additionally, moving the hole locations adds variety to the course. For example, putts on one part of a green may break much differently than putts on another portion of the green. Also, golfers may take very different approach shots to a green depending on the hole placement. Tee shot strategy on par-4 and even some par-5 holes can also change with differing hole locations, because golfers may try to get themselves in position to make a specific type of approach shot.
Where Holes Should be Moved
Golf course architect Jeffrey Brauer says his plans include 24 to 36 hole locations for each green he designs. He divides the green into six areas -- including a front, middle and back section on both the right and left sides -- then allows for four to six possible hole placements in each quadrant.