As much as I enjoyed following the PGA Tour throughout the west coast swing, it’s always fun when the tour ventures back east to Florida.
Playing golf in Florida is different than playing golf in California. The biggest difference occurs on the putting greens. Greens in California typically consist of bent grass, while Florida greens typically consist of Bermuda grass.
I grew up putting on bent grass greens, and they’ve always seemed easier to putt on than the Bermuda greens.
First off, there really is no grain on bent greens, so the speed of your putt is easier to gauge. Bermuda greens require that you factor in the grain.
Your ability to distinguish between a putt going down grain versus into the grain is incredibly important. A down grain putt will be quite a bit faster than a putt into the grain.
If you’ve never putted on Bermuda greens, the grass appears shiny when you are down grain, while it appears darker when you are going into the grain. It’s not rocket science, but it does require some understanding to perform well.
I’ve been fortunate to play quite a bit of golf in Florida. I became used to it, eventually, but my first visit to Florida had the wheels spinning in my head.
The reason for this was my concern over all the water on the golf courses. Growing up in New Mexico, I was accustomed to maybe seeing one or two holes with a small pond near the green.
My first experience with Florida golf was quite different.
As golfers, we become very comfortable in our surroundings. For those of you who play team play, I’m sure you recognize the difficulty in playing well during your away matches.
With different courses come different obstacles, and those can be difficult to manage.
PGA Tour professionals are no different. They are more comfortable in familiar surroundings.
Phil Mickelson is a prime example of this. As spectacular as his career has been, Mickelson is notorious for playing his best golf on the west coast. He grew up in San Diego, after all, so this should come as no surprise. He even played his college golf at Arizona State.
Not California, but close enough.
So, now that the tour has left California and headed back east, it will be fun to watch which players have the most success. The top players in the world will continue to play well.
That’s why they’re at the top.
However, don’t be surprised if you start to see a few new names popping up on the leaderboards. And when that happens, don’t be surprised if they grew up putting on Bermuda greens.