The OnLink Platform ‘dials-in’ green speeds and firmness through key indicators

Radnor, PA, June 23, 2015 – Twenty-one-year-old Jordon Spieth won, Tiger saw career lows, but the majority of the chatter surrounding the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay focused on green consistency – or lack thereof. While some players were more direct than others (see Sergio Garcia’s Twitter rant), when asked about playing conditions, almost all of the big names had something to say about green speed and the putting challenges they faced. Phil Mickelson, who finished at [+13] for the weekend, said early on, “I think the biggest challenge is that the green speeds are different from green to green.” After a frustrating second round, Henrik Stenson more bluntly told the media, “It was like putting on broccoli,” and Rory McIlroy countered, “I don’t think they’re as green as broccoli, I think they’re more like cauliflower.”
For many of the spectators at home, the debate was the brown vs green visual typically seen in U.S. golfing venues. Chambers Bay is a magnificent course, stretching over 10 miles along the Pacific coast and winding its way through rocky elevation, layered with magnificent bunkers. The fescue greens are more reminiscent of courses we’re used to seeing across the “Pond” at the other Open, with brown and yellowish tinges. Whichever side of the green vs. brown debate you stand on, though, the bigger problem was the putting condition consistency throughout the tournament.

There lies the significant factor: consistency. The OnLink platform was designed as a cost-effective, comprehensive solution to help manage all course data in one place, with correlations resulting in optimal plant health while reducing operating costs to maintain consistent playing conditions. The OnLink platform allows you to dial in green speeds and firmness through key indicators. The dashboard offers Playing Conditions modules, which include linking speed and firmness with soil moisture levels, weather variables and in some cases, clipping yield, all with the purpose of helping maintain optimal green conditions and consistency.

Each course is different, and turf management on the East Coast is an entirely different ballgame than in the West, but the same rules apply. “Golf course management is essentially four categories – turf health, water management, playing conditions and labor management,” said Matt Shaffer, Director of Golf Course Operations at Merion Golf Club. “But the severity of these categories change drastically by geographic region. Managing a course in the Northeast is different than the Northwest. Not only does it change region to region but based on the green mixture it could change by the hour.”

At Chambers Bay, that morning to afternoon shift in playing conditions caused quite the fuss. Shawn Emerson, Director of Agronomy at Desert Mountain Club in Arizona, knows this better than most. He sums up the challenge and OnLink benefit like this: “The primary goal at Desert Mountain is for each golf course to get the best experience possible, and for me that means 108 holes of putting green consistency. We try to accomplish 11.6 on stimpmeter for speed and .35 on the penetrometer for firmness on all our greens. I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have the OnLink platform. It gives me all the data to help me better manage my course.”

To learn more about the OnLink platform, watch this video. (current “video” link: