01 June 2013
A column in today's online Wall Street Journal brought back a lot of pleasant memories. It reported on the "sand-greens" division of the Kansas high school golf championships.
Back in the 1950s, one of the courses where my family played golf (Tianna Country Club, Walker, Minnesota) had sand greens. They were a cheaper alternative to the manicured grass used in conventional golf courses; greens fees could be substantially lower than on grass-greens courses, and courses could be constructed in communities that couldn't otherwise afford a golf course.
The sand would sometimes be moistened with vegetable or motor oil. After completing play on a hole, it was the responsibility of the golfers to drag the green in a spiral fashion from the center to the edge with a piece of carpet to restore the smoothness of the sand for the next players. I don't remember ever using a roller to flatten a path between one's ball and the cup, and suspect that is a more modern intervention.
I'm delighted to learn that sand-green golf still exists. For the golfers out there, here are links to a Sports Illustrated history of sand-greens golf, and to Pasture Golf, which "features golf courses that have the distinction of not being excessively manicured but which are fun and affordable to play. These courses are a surviving link to the original Scottish links courses, golf’s historical grassroots."
Top photo credit: John Paul Newport/The Wall Street Journal. Right embed via Pasture Golf.