Factors and Factor Combinations Contributing to Greens Speed for Major PGS Golf Course

The Challenge

For most major golf courses, the single greatest indicator of course quality is “greens speed.” If the “greens speed” is too high, the ball rolls too far, too fast. If it is too low, the ball sticks too much and rolls too slow / not fast enough.

Like all courses, our client addressed the issue through “rule of thumb” maintenance and liberal use of water which was extremely labor intensive and expensive in an arid climate. This is vastly more important when hosting major tours like the PGA, and it was critical for the course to understand the factors that contributed to “greens speed” so they could control it to best suit tournament requirements relevant to users.

What They Did

The Golf Course contracted with Gordian Knot to identify which conditions and activities contribute to optimal “greens speed.” Gordian Knot Analytics Group built a predictive model to predict “greens speed” for any given day.

The Golf Course was able to implement precise, actionable best practices and course management procedures based on the new insights to achieve the desired “greens speed” on the tournament day.

The model produced actionable insights that affected greens speed allowing the course manager to focus on the most important factors and combinations of factors.

Handling multiple data types and sources was easy with Gordian Knot Analytics' Software.

The Results

  • Gordian Knot’s Analytics Tools tested every variable and every combination and determined which INIDIVIDUAL FACTORS and which COMBINATION OF FACTORS affected “greens speed”
  • The model proved extremely stable at predicting those factors and combinations that affected “greens speed”, and provided clear insights on how the maintenance team could achieve the desired “greens speed” to satisfy the tournament requirements
  • Course management was able to implement actionable Best Practices and Tactical Procedures to precisely monitor and control green speeds, taking the guesswork out of their previous way of working.
  • The Course was able to significantly reduce unnecessary watering of the greens resulting in over $700,000 in annual savings
  • The Course improved its overall quality rating with the USGA enabling it to host the U.S. Open in an increasingly competitive environment


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