Cutting Cups
By Snyper on 7/19/10
Matt Snyder is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

In my 15 years of working at golf courses, I've learned to do just about everything that there is to do on a golf course. One of the more simple and fun tasks that I've conquered is cutting cups. There are not a whole lot of steps in the process, but it is important that each step be done correctly. The last thing you want to be doing is cutting extra holes in the green because you messed up the first time. It takes between two and three weeks for a properly replaced plug to completely heal, so creating extra plugs is not something that the superintendent smiles about.

In this video, you'll see me completing each of the following steps: cutting the new hole, removing the cup from the previous hole, inserting the cup into the new hole, and plugging the old hole.

The most important thing about this process is ensuring that you are careful with the plug that you cut from the new hole as you insert it into the old hole. If you end up with a plug that is too large or too small for the old hole, you create a situation where the plug is not level with the green. We’ve all seen, from time to time, a plug that was clearly set too low or too high. If the plug is set too low, it becomes a hazard for players to put over. But even worse, if a plug is set too high, the greens mower will likely scalp the grass right off the top of the plug causing an ugly scar on the green which will take a long time to heal. The moisture level is usually the reason for uneven plugs. If the green is too dry, the plug will often fall apart and make for a pretty miserable time of trying to all the dirt from the old hole into the new hole. Additionally, a dry green will not accept the new plug into the old hole very well at all. So, you can stomp on a dry plug all day long, but it won’t compact and mold itself to the old hole. On the other hand, if the green is too wet, the plug tends to compact more and become smaller than the old hole. So, while cutting new holes isn't exactly a complex assignment, it is a process that takes some time to get good at properly completing. It is also one that can cause numerous people to get pretty angry if you fail to get it right.

So, check out this demonstration of the cup-cutting process and let me know what you think. If you have any other questions about the process or a step that you see in the video, feel free to post it and I will be checking in to answer as best I can.




oob Note (Andrew)- Forgive me for the quality of the video. It was filmed on my iPhone and edited using some free crap from Microsoft. That said- most of the video inadequacies are on me!


* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf.


[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
nicely done.
7/19/10
 
golfblogger says:
But what we really want to know is whether you guys deliberately look for evil places to cut those cups.
7/19/10
 
Kickntrue says:
@golfblogger- I've cut pins with Matt the night before a tournament, and I can say at least for him- YES!
7/19/10
 
lcgolfer64 says:
@Matt - I have a question
Is there any particular reason that cut holes become cone-shaped (other than placement possibly) I played a course recently where many of the flat greens holes were 'coned.' You would putt the ball at a slower pace and they would all roll away from the cup on almost all sides - pretty frustrating.
7/19/10
 
Kickntrue says:
@lcgolfer64- Good question. I've noticed that too!
7/19/10
 
lcgolfer64 says:
@kickntrue
[...also looking to it for an excuse for my poor putting stats of late...]

=)
7/19/10
 
sepfeiff says:
Thats cool, always wondered how that was done. More vids of course maintenance and management plzzzzz
7/19/10
 
DiC says:
Was going to mock this for being a pretty nerdy topic to do a post on but then discovered I must be a complete golf nerd as I loved it!
Very interesting stuff

I second sepferiff with more of these kind of things please.
7/19/10
 
eventHorizon says:
if you are referring to cone shaped around the hole thats because all the players walk up and around the hole but usually don't walk within a foot or so of the hole. This causes the area around the hole to be raised in comparison to where people walk.
7/19/10
 
lcgolfer64 says:
@event - that could make sense. I also was thinking that it could be when they pull the cut from the hole it might raise the are a little around the hole. We were waiting around for the next tee and experimented on one the holes and it seemed raised a little, as the ball would suddenly move around the hole a couple inches before the cup
7/19/10
 
Swingem says:
I think it was Pelz who commented, in his book on putting, as to why the area around the hole may be slightly raised for the reason that @eventHorizon pointed out.
7/19/10
 
Optimus Prime says:
That was really interesting. Thanks for sharing!
7/19/10
 
falcon50driver says:
Someone pointed it out to me, that all the traffic on the green occurs in an area around the hole, packing it down and creating the Volcano effect. I'm curious about how often the average course moves the holes. I played a course recently where the hole had been in one place so long that it was about to heal over. So much grass had grown toward the hole that it looked like it was only 3 inches in diameter.
7/19/10
 
Snyper says:
@lcgolfer-I've had conversations about that topic several times. I will say that when you remove the plug, it definitely creates enough suction to slightly elevate the area around the hole. However, when you place the cup into the new hole, it must be firmly pressed/stomped into the hole and that often creates a depressed area around the hole. So....I'm not sure the exact answer. My guess is that there is a little bit of everything that occassionally creates this scenario.
7/19/10
 
dave0498 says:
I've also heard about the "cone" around the hole. The first person I ever played with years ago told me it was because no one ever steps around the hole. I believe this is true. He also called it "The Lumpy Doughnut" I don't know where he got it from but I've always called it that since. I love having a name for it :)
7/19/10
 
Snyper says:
@m2d-Most courses will cut new pins everyday, Monday - Friday. However, it all depends on the size of the greens. Courses will small greens cut new pins less often because they always want to cut the new holes as far away from the old ones as possible. So, courses with small greens may cut new cups once a week instead of once a day. After a week, the edges really begin to fall and the cups start to get very difficult to remove.
7/19/10
 
greendevil says:
I often wonder how nice it would be to work on/at a golf course. I'm sure I shouldn't quit my day job as the pay's probably not that great; but I love the game and I'd love to be around it more often.
7/20/10
 
lcgolfer64 says:
Thanks Snyper and Event - that would make sense. It's not a course that I play everyday but would assume they move them eventually. I guess I'll just have to use the 'backboard' of the holes and hope the I'm square-on! =)

Good article Oob - thanks!
7/20/10
 
lcgolfer64 says:
***Off Topic***
@Andrew & Co - I think my annual fee is coming due again August, not sure how you renew it but go ahead and sign me up again! Love this site. Personally I have no problem if you raise the annual addict fee - it's so worth it!
I think the Oob community would agree.

[short on sleep, long on coffee this morning, so apologize for the off-topic]
7/20/10
 
white_rabbitt says:
@greendevil- I worked a couple of courses when I was younger. I loved being on the course everyday and working outside! One of my favorite things to do was mow greens. I also had the huge added benefit of being able to play the courses in the evenings for free. The downside to it was very early mornings (5:30am) and yes, the pay was pretty weak but it was a great experience for me! I have so much more respect for course maintenance now!
7/20/10
 
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