GREENS. Good greens are firm yet receptive to crisply played shots, and roll true at reasonably fast speeds. Exceedingly fast greens, and frustratingly slow greens, should be penalised. Tournament set-ups are not the focus of our evaluation process. We consider courses as they are set up for everyday play, so we consider exceedingly fast greens an agronomic gamble. A super-fast pace on a green make recovery shots, chipping and putting more of a guessing game than a test of skill. The green surrounds should be manicured and kept relatively short. Greens recovering from aerifying work should not be marked down as this is a normal maintenance procedure. Greens pitted with unrepaired ball marks should be marked down.
BUNKERS. How consistent is the sand for recovery shots, and is there an adequate covering of sand so that you don’t hit hard dirt underneath with an explosion shot. Stones can be removed from bunkers under the new rules, yet too many stones in a bunker should be penalised. The surrounds of bunkers are preferably closely mown so that balls don’t catch up in thick grass on a bunker’s edge, making for an even more difficult shot.
TEES. These should be level, closely mown with good grass cover, firm enough that a high tee peg can be inserted with an easy push into the turf, and not lean over. Tee markers should be frequently moved to avoid wear and tear, and divots repaired
FAIRWAYS. Firm, fast and rolling, with generally playable lies so that placing is unnecessary at most times of the year. It is preferable to have one type of fairway grass, but a mixture is permissible at courses which have budget constraints, as long as they are all sustainable grasses in our climate. Good fairways are properly defined with a distinctive second cut. Fairways thick with thatch are tolerable but not good.
GENERAL PRESENTATION. A course should look neat and manicured throughout, and the rough adjoining fairways should be fair and consistent. Thick isolated pockets of rough in the playing area result in lost balls and slow play. Penalty areas should have attractive natural aesthetics, and be free of litter and debris.