Some may look at these maps and understand what is going on with low spots and high spots, steep areas and flat areas. Others may look at these maps and see a giant zebra that wraps around bunkers, tees and greens. I wanted to do a quick tutorial on what some of these things mean and how to better understand them.
The below image highlights two different areas that are nearly adjacent to one another. Both areas are closed shapes, but one is the high spot and the other is a depression or low spot.
The easiest way to tell which is which is by taking a look at contours and continue the intervals either up the hill or down the hill. Some images will show labeled contours well while others may use larger intervals. The above image uses 2-foot contour intervals to “de-clutter” the map.
Another thing you can tell from reading contours is how steep and how gradual the slope is in a particular area. If the contours are near one another, this will typically show a steep incline or decline and contours that are more spaced, will have a more gradual slope.