Is it time to replace your Cup Setter?

Published in Putting Cups on August 20, 2012

It’s one of the most used products in your greens tools arsenal.  Durable, easy to use, and it does the job day in and day out.  It’s the Par Aide Cup Setter.  But when was the last time you replaced it or at least checked it for proper depth?  It might look like it’s still in good working condition, and seems to set the cup properly, but structurally things may have changed over the years of use.  And these changes may affect your cups not being set properly to the USGA regulation of a minimum of 1” below the surface of the green.  Additionally, modifications have been made to the new Par Aide Cup Setters that improve the playing conditions of your cups and ensure a proper cup set.

All the years of use and all the cups that have been meticulously set into place has likely taken its toll on your old Par Aide Cup Setter.  Think about all the cups that are set with a cup setter that is just 10+ years old.  A 10-year-old cup setter might have changed 60,000+ cups in a year round golf climate.  Is your cup setter older than 10 years?  20 years?  120,000 cups!  The way in which a cup setter is used and the conditions that are present (sand and soil) are ripe for wear.  The sand and soil act like sandpaper and eat away at the 1” tolerance that is cast into our cup setters.  The effect is that the cup setter actually forms a beveled edge where the cup is set vs a flat edge of a new cup setter right out of the box.  This beveled edge reduces the depth that a cup is set, up to 1/16” or more.  The result is a cup that is now set less than 1” below the surface of the green.

Not a big deal, right?  Not until Mr. Smith has a putt “bounce” out of the cup in your club championship because it was not set to the proper depth.  Yes, it can happen.  Just ask Joe Daley.  It happened to him in the 2000 Q School finals!  See the putt here.  That missed putt cost Joe his PGA Tour card as he ended up the tournament 1 stroke back from getting his ticket punched to the big show. Furthermore, it was later confirmed that the cup was in fact set less than 1” below the surface of green at the time.  Whether it was pulled up during play or set incorrectly at the start of the day, we will never know.

So what can you do to help eliminate this unfortunate fluke from happening at your facility?  First, check your old cup setter.  If it is a Par Aide setter and it is red…it is at least 18+ years old (we have been painting them white since 1994) and likely has the worn edges described above.  If the edges where the cup get set look beveled…it’s probably time for a new cup setter.

If you determine your cup setter needs to be replaced, what you will be getting from Par Aide is an improved tool.  In 2010, we redesigned our cup setter to set the cup an additional 1/8” (total of 1-1/8”) below the greens surface.  This means that even with an excessive amount of wear, or even a careless set, the cup is likely to be set to the required minimum of 1” below the surface of the green.

So take a minute to check out your cup setter the next time you think about it…Mr. Smith thanks you in advance!

Dan Brown
Sales & Marketing Manger at Par Aide