How Often Do Golf Courses Change Hole Locations?
Everyone loves playing golf on a perfectly prepared course, with greens in great condition, allowing the ball to smoothly roll towards the hole.
There’s nothing worse than having your shot ruined by surface imperfections and having your put going wrong because you hit a bump in the grass.
A smooth and well-kept course means that all the hard work you put into practice can pay off once you get to the green.
Of course, maintaining the course in perfect condition is not easy.
The turf sees plenty of foot traffic, greens especially, and course superintendents have their hands full every day to keep the course playable.
One of the things they do to make this happen is change hole locations.
If you’re a regular on a course, you’ve noticed that holes are moved around frequently.
Below, I’ll explain how often do golf courses change hole locations and why they do it.
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How Often Do Golf Courses Change Hole Locations?
Most golf courses will look to change hole locations on a daily basis.
However, this may depend on several factors, and due to certain circumstances, some courses may not do it as often.
Smaller and less busy courses may even change the golf hole location only once per week.
Below are the main factors that influence how often golf courses change hole locations.
Amount of Foot Traffic around the Holes
The first thing that influences how often the hole locations are changed is the amount of foot traffic on the course.
On the occasions when there’s particularly heavy play, especially on public golf courses, the hole locations may even be changed twice a day.
This particularly happens over the weekend, when the largest number of golfers come out to play.
On less busy periods, when there’s less foot traffic around the course, the locations of holes won’t be changed that frequently, but will still be moved around to keep the course interesting for golfers who play every day.
The hole locations themselves also play a role in how frequent the changes will be.
The holes will be moved to easier hole locations on more busy days to help players complete the hole more quickly and move on to the next tee.
As not all hole locations are easy and their number is limited, on certain days, some holes will remain in more difficult spots, while the others will move around.
There’s also a question of available manpower. Not every course has enough workers available to change golf hole locations every day.
Driving around the course and changing locations of all 18 holes takes at least a couple of hours and the course staff often have plenty of other tasks to tend to.
So, courses that are short on staff are often forced to compromise and cut new holes only after particularly busy days, while leaving them in the same spot in the periods when the play is slow.
Weather and Season of the Year
The frequency with which golf courses will change hole locations also depends on the weather and the season of the year.
In the summertime, when the weather is warmer, not only the golf courses are busier, but the recovery time for the grass is much shorter.
This allows groundkeepers to change the hole locations more frequently as the area around the newly-dig hole will even out and recover more quickly.
The hole location will also remain at the same spot longer during the periods of green aeration to allow the grass more time to recover.
Why Do Golf Courses Change Hole Locations?
Preserving the Area around the Greens
The area around the greens sees a great amount of foot traffic every day.
It’s the one area on the course that every player goes through, so the wear and tear will be way above the levels at the other parts of the golf course.
If holes were to remain in the same spot, the grass around them would quickly get severely damaged, pitch marks would become notable, and it wouldn’t have enough time or the opportunity to properly recover.
The grass, especially when cut short, is very fragile, and foot traffic, as well as grounded clubs and divot marks, can do a lot of damage.
Plus, intensive foot traffic causes grass to compact and create thatch buildup.
In most cases, golf courses will move the hole to the opposite side of the green the next day, sparing the previous spot of heavy traffic and allowing it to recover.
Enhancing Playing Experience
While golfers love to try out new places to play golf, most of them have a home course where they play several times a week.
If the holes always remained at the same spots, the course would quickly get boring and wouldn’t present much of a challenge for regular players.
Keeping the hole locations the same would mean that players would always use the same shots approach or off the tee for a par three which would make the game much less interesting, especially if you repeat the same routine every day.
Therefore, golf courses rotate hole locations, forcing the players to change their strategy and adjust the way they approach every hole.
Also, as I explained already, moving the holes to easier locations on busy days can significantly increase the pace of play, making a day on the course a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
While you may take it for granted and not think much about it, the staff on the golf courses does a lot of work behind the scenes to make the playing experience as enjoyable as possible and to preserve the integrity of the playing surface.
One of the things they do regularly is change the location of golf holes.
At larger and busier courses this is done every day, while others may do it less frequently, but still at least once a week.
This helps keep the grass around the greens in perfect condition and keeps the game challenging even if you play the same course every day.