Mike Davis, Executive Director from the USGA, joined the program to promote the kickoff of NBC Universal’s Green Week and to discuss ways in which golf can help eliminate it's carbon footprint. Davis talked about the negative impact that golf can have on the environment because of the tremendous amount of water needed to keep courses in shape. Davis added that despite the large amount of irrigation needed to uphold greens, many fail to acknowledge the natural environment that golf courses preserve for wildlife.
In 2014 the US Open and US Women’s Open will return to the famed Pinehurst No.2 course in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Davis explained some of the changes Pinehurst has made to make the No. 2 course more environmentally friendly. After the complete restoration of the course, over 30 acres of grass were removed and replaced with more natural roughage including pine straw, sand and wiregrass. The changes to the course have allowed officials to remove more than half of the irrigation heads, reducing half of the amount of water used to preserve the course. Davis added that having back to back Men’s and Women’s US Opens will also eliminate the impact that a major tournament can have on the environment.
The high scores at this year’s 2011 US Open had many people wondering if Congressional CC was the wrong place to play a major. Looking back, Davis said that the USGA’s goal is to make every US Open challenging. Davis added that although the course played fairly, it was Mother Nature that played a part in the high scores. Every night of the championship, the course got a large amount of rain which allowed for balls to land and stay in fairways easily. Along with the large amount of rain, Davis said that the extreme amount of heat during the day also added to how the course played. “The weather stunted the growth, but in no way was the event a failure, it was just not what one may consider a brutal US Open course,” added Davis.
Davis filled us in on the controversy among anchored putters. Davis was quoted in Golf Digest saying, “We are looking into the subject, however it is not a game changer yet.” He explained that though some feel that anchored putters offer an unfair advantage, there are not real statistics that lead to show change in the nature of the game. The statistic that the USGA notices most is the amount of elite players who are converting to anchored putters. The USGA has noted the amount of junior and college level golfers who have made the switch. Davis said that there is a USGA meeting in the near future, and that discussing the matter is definitely on the agenda. He said that they will discuss the pros and cons and look deeper at the statistics of long putters.