Laser surveying will tell you exactly where discrepancies occur down to about 1cm of change. This can be done on a 1 metre grid so that you end up with a very clear colour coded picture of the green surface.
However, once you have a survey result in front of you, what do you do with it?
Well you could embark on a program of localised top-dressing as I have seen some clubs do, but this is a largely futile process, as you simply can’t make a big enough impact in a reasonable timeframe for it to be truly noticeable or beneficial or worth the investment. In to the bargain, as you are doing this the green is changing all of the time.
Heavy rolling should be avoided, but regular light to medium weight rolling with a tru-level type roller is very beneficial.
In the end you must decide if the surface level discrepancies are something you can live with or if they really need to be tackled head on. In many cases, simply following a concerted program of aeration, thatch reduction and compaction control can and will improve green playability over time.
Making localised changes to green levels by more mechanical means such as lifting and relaying turf, can come at a very large cost, both financially and in terms of the headaches such work can bring on.
When you lift a part of a green to re-level it, you have to stop somewhere and inevitably this will be the start of a new problem area. The only real answer in this case is to re-build the entire green.
However, if you decide to go down that route you must remember that the overall result will only be as good as the design, workmanship and materials that go into the project and it is entirely possible that due to soil and ground characteristics out of your control that you will soon be re-visited by level problems even on a newly laid green.
I hope I am not sitting too firmly on the fence here, but I think greens should be prepared to a high standard as they are and then its over to the players to read and conquer them.
Whatever happens, a decision on these issues must be made by the club before embarking on any performance management program.