What are Turtleback Greens?
The term turtleback or sometimes referred to as upside down saucer greens are closely associated with Donald Ross the golf course architect and Pinehurst Number 2 golf course located in North Carolina, USA. Turtleback greens are known for their slope, and green speed. However, Donald Ross originally designed the greens to have a gentle upside down saucer look or crown in the middle of the green to repel poor shots. But for most intent and purposes the greens did not look out of the ordinary for that period of time.
Opened in 1907 Pinehurst Number 2 greens were sand greens until they were grassed to bermudagrass in 1935. The bermudagrass that was used was common type, which was very course in texture. In an attempt to keep the greens smooth and firm, topdressing was eventually done aggressively. The aggressive topdressing practices that occurred over the decades resulted in the greens becoming higher, and the crown becoming more pronounced resulting in a turtleback look. In reality you can blame or give credit to the greenskeepers for developing turtleback greens at Pinehurst.