Strategy – Northumberland Greens

So a lot of us just watched the US Open from Winged Foot Golf Club in New York. There was a lot of chatter about their famous greens. Often referred to as “green’s complex “. What does that even mean??

As a noun, “a group of similar buildings or facilities on the same site.” As an adjective, “consisting of many different and connected parts.”

To try and put that into context here at Northumberland Links, it’s the size and shapes that give the course the characteristics. How the green looks from the tee or fairway, how the ball gets accepted with approach shots and of course, how they putt.

There is no question as to how our members and guests view the Northumberlink Link green’s complexes.


True…..they are smooth and true. If you’re putting down hill or down wind… can be mind mushing. However, if you approach your round with the intention of playing the ball from certain parts of the greens or chipping, you’ll find it quite manageable.

After you finish your last piece of pumpkin pie and place your plate upside down on the table, you’ll get the gist of what you’re dealing with. Imagine the hole location on the plate bottom. It would be a lot less stressful if you can put the ball between the front edge of the plate and hole. Even chipping from short of the green, you’ll see that it’s a simpler strategy. You’ll always be going uphill and the full effects of a .120 or .115 cut height will be lessened.

The green can sound firm but will always accept a good shot. If you don’t have the club speed to spin it, how high you flight the ball with a steep descent angle will be effective as well. When you putt, the intention should be getting the correct speed. A great warm up could start with putting from one side of the practice green to the other.

With correct speed, it will be much easier to read the greens correctly. When greens are like they are now, the ball travels slowly because it’s struck with less force, therefore spends more time in the break …ergo breaks more.

To summarize…….
Play short or place the ball on the front of green short of pin high, use the appropriate club that will either spin the ball or create a descent angle that will stop it. Play more break and find the speed.

Sleeping with your putter the night before your round will not hurt either!!

Strategy – Hole #13, Lobster Pot

The play seemingly trite….hit the ball over the bunker onto the large green.

With the remnants of an old lobster boat framing the back of the green and a small, very well placed bunker in the front middle, “Lobster Pot” is Northumberland’s signature hole. It sits, awaiting the next errant shot, anticipating its own catch of the day.

Donald Ross could not have “turtle backed” the putting surface better. A shot just over the bunker will stop marvelously. However, when you have a superintendent that has the putting surface……well….perfect, the ball slowly trickles left off the green with the echoes of “uggghhhh” heard from adjoining holes!

Whether it’s the full shot from the tee or short pitch, the hole design requires the ball to get to the center of third of the green. No matter the hole location, from this position you stand a chance of making a putt.

On May and June mornings, one could almost reach out and touch the lobster boats offshore as crews scour the Strait for our favorite crustaceans. Just breathe in the salty air and allow your mind to wander. Inconsequential of the score card.