The detail behind the green details.  

By Jeffrey D. Brauer


There may be 100 things to consider when designing just one green.  Here is a checklist of all the things we consider in drawing a green detail.  After reviewing this checklist, you’ll understand why we call them “green complexes.”




Acres/SF available

Trees to Save (trunk location and drip line)

Safety/Nearby features that constrict space

Slope severity and direction(s)

“Natural” angle and position of the green



Make each green different concept from the preceding and following green, and among hole types (par 3, short and long 4, par 5

Precision Target, small enough to aim only at center of green (3-4 per 18 holes, on par 3, short 4, long 4, par 5)

“Sunday Pin” Green (i.e., one difficult pin position – 8-10 per 18 holes – The default green

“Weekend Pin” Green (i.e., two difficult pin positions) (2-3 per 18 holes) – “A” frame or gull wing shape

2 or 3 Level Green (3-4 per 18 holes max, scattered and one each on par 3, short 4, long 4, par 5)

  • 2 tiers front to back,
  • 2 tiers side to side,
  • 2 tiers angled  
  • 3 tiers front to back, 
  • 3 tiers side to side, 
  • 3 tiers staggered (3-4 per 18 holes,)
  • 4 Tier (?) Hard, but not impossible, to pull off

Concept Greens – (Mostly from Charles Blair MacDonald ideas)

  • Redan
  • Biarritz 
  • Fortress
  • Punchbowl

Extreme Greens:

  • Large and Rolling (over 10,000 SF)
  • Long or Wide and thin



  • Size (Affected by approach shot distance and natural site factors)
  • Angle (Affected by natural contours and wind Direction)
  • Main Features/Concepts 
  • Elevation Above Fairway
  • Front to Back Slope to Hold Shot
  • Visibility to Golfer
  • Concept, Width, Angle, and Up Slope of Fairway Approach & Connector
  • Surrounding Tie Ins
  • Maintenance Considerations from Putting Surface and Surrounds



Determine number of cup spaces required (from 6 to 21 on extremes)

Main Feature Putting Feature and Concept

  • Gently Rolling
  • Multi-Tier or Subdivided, Interior Contours
  • Tilted Plane


  • Maximum Cup Area Slope
  • Variety of Slope
  • Rolling Edge Slopes

Basic Cupping Area Green Slope



Sunlight and Air Movement

Mower Exit Slopes and Turning Areas

Drainage Patterns



Ambulatory access Routes from Cart Path and Fairway to green surface

ADA required handicap access


After the new year, we’ll look at all these factors individually, but obviously, the design process goes round and round to get to the final design, as one factor overrules the other or becomes most important.


Jeffrey D. Brauer/GolfScapes, Inc.
3809 Canton Jade Way  
Arlington, TX 76005
Ph: 817-797-6376