Last week, I was inspired when a high school student asked me to offer my opinion on his choice of topic about a 'Fun Fact' he had chosen for a two page essay. The fact he had chosen, had to do with the evolution of golf balls, and I ended up writing an article, entitled Balls of Feather, for my site, www.verysexysports.com. Kevin Reardon [ @KBReardonPGA ], a professional golfer who works at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, and who follows me on Twitter, was kind enough to provide me with the history about "balls of feather" and he also agreed to allow me to conduct a series of interviews with him, wherein I could ask anything and everything I could think of about golf. We agreed to try to chat once a week, until the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship which will take place in April 2014, at Quail Hollllow Club.
This is the second interview in what looks to be like a very rewarding project for me. I love learning something new, and as it often the case, the more you inquire about something you know very little about, the more you realize you actually know even less than you thought. I really don't know much about golf. When I was younger I probably would have used words like "hate" to describe how I felt about golf. I would have based that opinion on very little information, like a few minutes of seeing it on television when my father or uncle were watching it. It's always so easy to "hate" something you don't understand. When I was in high school, this good looking boy whom I was friends with, got a scholarship to play golf, and I remember looking at his photo in the yearbook, where he was pictured on the 'golf team' and wondering just why he chose that sport. He was so good looking. I just didn't get why he played golf. He also played baseball, and I mean if I were him I would have opted to play baseball in college. Yet, isn't funny how looking back we often realize just how ignorant we once were.
My first epiphany about the sport of golf probably came when I was playing video games with someone I dated when I was in my early twenties. He played every weekend, and we used to play video games, and golf was the one he liked best. I used to play against him, and I used to love to have my avatar throw the grass and see how windy it was. I was just being obnoxious really, and delaying the game, but I was also absorbing. I was learning about the types of clubs to choose, and just how the elements could affect the game. Eventually I would take lessons, and actually walk a course in London where there were no women's tees, just professionals and the ones for 'regular' people. I've owned my own set of clubs, and I think, if anything I could at least speak intelligently about the concept of the game. That's it, though. I'm a total novice.
So that being said, I have to thank Kevin Reardon, PGA for his patience with me. My questions for this interview are about the importance of the green. Last week, at the tail end of the discussion I had with Kevin about "balls of feather" he mentioned that Quail Hollow Club had replaced the greens with Bermuda green. He seemed excited about this. Of course, in my world that meant nothing. I mean a green is a green, I never really thought about the agronomy. Truth be told, I might not have even known that was a word. So here goes, my conversation with Kevin Reardon, PGA:
MSX: Hey How are you?
KR: I'm well, you?
MSX: I am doing well. Just checking in with you to see how you are and what's new. I would love to talk about greens, when you have time.
KR: Thanks. We are getting a ton of snow. Crazy to think our event is less than 80 days or so away.
MSX: I promise not to take up too much of your time. I want to find out more about the greens though. I was thinking I would ask five questions, if that's okay. The first would be, "How important is the green when it comes to the game of golf?"
KR: Wow! It's by far the most important part of the course. The object of the game is to get the ball in the hole. That hole resides on the green.
MSX: ;-) [ Of course, I'm am smiling because I noticed that Kevin has just shared the object of the game and I'm wondering to myself, does he think I don't know the object? I guess my naivety about the game comes shining through in my interviews. ]
KR: Putting typically is the quickest way to lower your score or raise your score. Putting occurs on the green.
MSX: Thank you for including the object of the game. :-)
Now let me ask you, what is the most important thing about the green? ie., the type of grass, the way it's cut, etc.,
KR: There are many different types of grass used on greens. Most common are bent, Bermuda, and poa [ out West ].
MSX: Ahh let me step back for a moment. What part of the golf course is the green?
KR: Greens are cut at really low levels to dictate speed. The green is at the end of the hole. You begin at the tee box and work toward the green. Sometimes you hit from the tee box to the green [ Par 3 ] and other times you tee off toward a fairway.
MSX: So the course is made up of fairways and greens?
KR: and tee boxes. All holes start from the tee box, "teeing grounds" some may say.
MSX: Okay so there are teeing grounds, fairways and greens. Is that correct?
KR: Yes. The types of grass can be different for the fairways and the tee boxes and the grass doesn't always match the greens.
MSX: I may be at more than five questions. Sorry. It's all so fascinating. I want to ask you what the most important thing about the green is.
KR: The most important thing is that greens on the course have consistency. By that I mean, you don't want 18 greens to have different speeds. All golfers want consistency and greens that allow the ball the roll smoothly. The greens on the course are typically the same grass. They are usually cut to the same height, too.
MSX: Okay, last week you mentioned that in preparation for the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship, Quail Hollow Club replaced the greens, and you now have Bermuda.
KR: We use mini verde Bermuda. It replaced bent grass. This is in preparation for the 2017 PGA Championship. We host the Wells Fargo, PGA tour event and are having the PGA Championship in 2017. There are only four, The Masters, US Open, Open Championship [ British Open ] and the PGA Championship.
MSX: I know our time is up, and you've got to get back to work, but before I go, I would like to ask two questions that are random, and not relating to greens. The first is, "What advice would you give to a kid who does not have the means to play golf, but is interested in the game?" and the second is, "Would you consider having a #livechat on Twitter, where you are available to answer questions about the golf, and if so, what would be the #hashtag you would recommend?
KR: I would recommend The First Tee Organization, as it does so much for so many. Of course, I would be happy to participate in a #livechat, and the #hashtag I would recommend would be #wannagolf.
As so this was how we left it, and as I thanked Kevin for taking the time out of his day, to help me to understand more about greens, I realized how very little I know about the sport. I shared with Kevin, that I had always seen golf as a ritzy sport, filled with snobs and people who look down on others. That was probably one of the reasons I gave my clubs away. I don't know if I will ever play the game again, but I am enjoying learning about the game, from someone who knows so much, and who has shown me that not all golfers look down on people. Some take the time out of their day, just to help another person, even when there is nothing in it for them. So I'm realizing that I might have been a little bit prejudice when it came to those who play the game of golf. Some golfers are nice people. Who knew?