We took notice when we heard that our Editors' Choice for synthetic putting surfaces, Southwest Greens of Dalton, Ga., was creating perhaps the most ambitious artificial putting green ever, for a putting tournament in Las Vegas. The event is called the Major Series of Putting, to be played Oct. 27-Nov. 5 in Las Vegas. Southwest Greens will install a temporary 18-hole putting course covering 20,000 square feet in the center of the outdoor grandstand adjacent to the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Vegas. Designed by Jack Nicklaus and David Savic (Southwest Greens has an exclusive agreement with Nicklaus Design), each hole has two starting points, with the shortest hole 10 feet and the longest 50 feet.
The putting-only competition, open to anyone willing to forfeit amateur status, will consist of single and team events in match play and stroke play. Entry fees are from $250 to $10,000, depending on the event and the purse. (You must be 21 or over to enter, and if you don't want to forfeit amateur status, you can enter the amateur portion of the event.)
The layout caught our eye because we chose the same team to produce the practice putting green in Golf Digest's new headquarters on the 27th floor of One World Trade Center in New York. Ours is considerably smaller—about 450 square feet—and though Southwest Greens used its outdoor polypropylene infill turf for the Vegas project, which allows green speeds to be adjusted by adding or subtracting sand, building regulations required us to use Southwest's nylon putting turf. If the Vegas holes have anything like the maddening subtle contours that Nicklaus and Savic installed on our putting green, contestants in Vegas will be tested.
Southwest Greens, prices vary by region of the country