Road Hole Shorts

Golf Design, golf, golf, GOLF

Archive for October, 2009

Color is Everything

It has been said that a golf course is a collection of eighteen masterpieces.  It’s true; the golf aesthetic is a source of beauty, tranquility, drama and emotions that many people associate with art.  The elements of design,  are definitely imbedded in art.  Space, line, color, shape, texture, and form translate into a three dimensional artform.  But the beauty of golf is in the ability of the player to become a part of the composition; to put him or herself  inside the art and compete with it.  Perhaps this is the essence of the game – the reason that just about anyone that tries it is hooked. 

So about now you’re probably asking yourself, ” how is color everything?”  After all, a golf course IS 95 percent green- right?  Yes, let’s hope so.  But, the different shades of green are key.  Light and dark; bright and dull; these variations in the color green, along with the splash of bunker sand and hopefully the deep blue of a lake define lines and shapes, and enhance or diminsh forms. 

Golf technology is most often associated with the game – more specifically the equipment used to play it.  However, the technology involved in selecting and engineering turf grass seed has contributed mightily to creating the postcard views that most of the public sees onweekly golf telecasts. 

While I’ll admit to thinking more about how a hole plays when I’m designing,  I am absolutely ga ga over the visual impact of a light (some might say bright) green bentgrass fairway and tees against the dark green of a blue – rye rough.  The contrast is simply sublime.  The resulting fairway/rough line can direct the eye, frame the view, create drama or sooth the soul.  But for all technology has done for the game, it’s failed us in our quest for ever more beautiful, maintainable and environmentally friendly turf.  Every year there are countless turf trials where new cultivars of all the different species are judged.  Susceptiblity to disease, turf density, drought resistance and other factors are judged along with color.  Genetic color is judged on the basis of  1 (the lowest rating) being light green and 9 being dark green.  This rating system is across the board – for all species.

So seed researchers and growers select cultivars for growing and distribution based upon this rating system.  Of course it’s only one of several factors in the rating of varieties, but there’s no telling what we might have in the way of varieties that were dragged down by nothing more than a lighter color.  I’ve been lobbying for more light colored Kentucky Bluegrass and Ryegrass varieties for nearly 15 years.  I guess my quest still  has a long way to go.  Here’s hoping that the right person reads this and takes some action.