The third hole at St. George’s Golf and Country Club, which will host next year’s Canadian Open, might be a disaster. That seems to be the point raised by Lorne Rubenstein in today’s Globe and Mail:
The green on the par-three third will pose the most problems to tour staff, players, and Keith Bartlett, St. Georges superintendent. Its so severely sloped that it will be very difficult to find a reasonable pin position any day, let alone four days “ if, and this is a big if “ PGA Tour officials insist on greens as fast as they usually mandate.
Bartlett spoke about the third green during a telephone interview yesterday while he was working on the course. He said that the slope is about 4 per cent to 5 per cent, while 2 to 3 is ideal. Brad Klein, Golfweek magazines architecture editor, has studied green speeds over the years and said yesterday that when slope gets above 2.5 per cent, a green is essentially unpinnable.
Well have to watch that one, Bartlett said. At the same time, he believes it will be possible to find pin positions on the other greens, at tour speeds of 11 feet to 12 feet on the Stimpmeter. The device measures how far a ball rolls off an inclined bar across a flat portion of a green. There arent many flat spots on the third green.
The result could be that the third green will be mowed to a slightly different height than the other greens. The PGA of America had to do this on the 18th green for the 2001 PGA Championship at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. During practice rounds balls hit into the middle of the green were rolling 40 yards back down the fairway.
Of course the intriguing and ironic bit is that the third green was rebuilt (by Robbie Robinson) to make the course more challenging for the 1968 Canadian Open after St. George’s was deemed “too easy” during its previous hosting of the touranment. I spoke with Bartlett at a charity event on Thursday and raised the same question. Truth be told the green should have been rebuilt years ago, but Barlett says “our members love it.” Odd that — how do you love a green that has no pin positions on it that are even remotely fair? This is like a wart on the face of Megan Fox.