June 20, 2012

US Open Week

A once in a lifetime opportunity has come and gone for myself and our Equipment Manager Mike Newbould. Last week we volunteered our time to help the staff at the Olympic Club prepare the golf course for the 112th United States Open.

First of all I must thank Director of Maintenance Pat Finlen, Lake Course Superintendent Justin Mandon, HR Director Celeste Repsher and all of the staff at the Olympic Club for their amazing hospitality and for allowing us to be part of such a special week. This group is truly a class act!

Sunday afternoon prior to the tournament, all of the staff and volunteers met for the first time to eat dinner and get job assignments for the week. I would be off to mow fairways morning and night and Mike was assigned to the shop to assist in maintaining the equipment.

There was an amazing amount of equipment to maintain and Mike and the other volunteer technicians worked as hard or harder than anyone else. Not your average everyday tournament as there were thirteen fairway mowers rumbling down each fairway morning and night. A very impressive sight I must say!              
The hundred or so volunteers from 16 different countries, all the extra equipment and all of the chaos that surrounds a tournament of this size made for many logistical challenges. The planning, coordination and timing that goes into this event was amazing to see from "inside the ropes" and the staff at Olympic pulled it off seamlessly.

For me, the most impressive aspect of seeing the golf course set up for a major championship was the amount of time and scientific data that goes into managing water. The players are so good and so critical of the day to day set up of the course that they notice any slight change in the course. Moisture readings, firmness testing and speed readings are taken all over each green morning and night to insure that the pros are getting the most difficult test in golf all while keeping the consistency and fairness that they expect. That course was a firm and fast as anything that I've ever seen and witnessing first hand the best in the world get tested on one of the great golf courses in the world  in that condition was an experience I'll never forget.

Take look at the video below for an inside the ropes look at the US Open maintenance and volunteers:

Lastly I must thank Claremont Country Club, it's Board of Directors, the Greens Committee and the Management team for their support and for allowing me the time away from work during the US Open. The experience was invaluable and I feel Mike and I both are back this week excited to bring with us some of the tips and tricks that may only be learned at a US Open.

Thanks again and we'll see you on the golf course!

June 4, 2012

Men's Invitational Week

Despite the light rain today, all systems are a go for a fantastic Men's Invitational this week at Claremont. Something about Murphy's Law and Mother Nature... the last thing we need today is rain. Monday of tournament week is a big day when we plan many maintenance activities to help set the course up for the biggest week of the year. These activities include the application of a preventative fungicide on the greens as well as applications of growth regulators to the greens and fairways. All of these products should be allowed to dry on the surface for an hour to achieve the desired result. Thanks Mother nature!

With or without the rain, the course will be in tip top shape this week and into the summer. We are very happy with the condition of the turf and this week the focus will be on mowing and clean up work. It's the little details that will set the golf course apart from day to day condition to tournament condition and the staff in the turf department has worked well at preparing for the big week. Good luck to all participants and here's to a great Men's Invitational. Thanks and we'll see you on the course!