Thursday, June 9, 2011

111th US Open

The upcoming US Open Championship is to be played at Congressional Country Club which is situated in Bethesda, Maryland just out of Washington DC. It will be played on the Blue course which was closed in 2009 for a rebuilding program of the greens.  The Blue course is a 7,278 yard par 72 for Members with a slope rating of 142!!  For the Open it will be played as a 7,574 yard par 71.  The summer in the USA last year was so severe that the Blue course was closed to play for 2 weeks in order to preserve the greens.  Following are some interesting facts about the course preparation with Coolie Tweed details in brackets.
Grass Type: Greens were rebuilt in 2009 to USGA Guidelines for Putting Green Construction (as were the re-constructed River greens) and established with a blend of Penn A-1 and A-4 creeping bentgrass.  (We have Penn G2 in the 17th West green and some Penn A1 in the greens nursery.)
Mowing Height: 2.5 mm  (We mow at about 3mm at the lowest.)
Mowing Height for collars and approaches: 8 mm  (We mow at 11mm)
Target Stimpmeter Reading: 14-14.5 feet  (Our greens would be unplayable at that speed!!)

Irrigation Practices: Only hand-watering on the greens. The goal is to achieve firmness without compromising the health of the grass. Soil moisture levels are constantly monitored with hand-held testers and in-ground sensors. Fairways and tees are irrigated on an as-needed basis. Wetting agents have been applied due to sand topdressing of both fairways and tees. The goal is to achieve even wetting when irrigation is applied.
Grass Type: Penncross creeping bentgrass
Mowing Height: 9 mm  (We mow at 11mm.)
Width: Ranges from 16 to 32 metres, averaging 23 metres wide in the primary landing zones.
Grass Type: Predominantly Penncross creeping bentgrass along with other varieties interseeded over the years.
Mowing Height: 9 mm  (We mow at 15mm.)
Grass Type:
intermediate rough – primarily perennial ryegrass
primary rough – predominantly turf-type tall fescue.
On each side of the fairway, a 1.8 metre wide swath of intermediate rough running the length of each hole will be mown at 22 mm. The same mowing height is used for the bunker tie-ins.
On greens with a primary rough, the mowing height is 75 mm.  (A golf ball has a diameter of 42.67 mm.)
For the sixth consecutive year, the USGA will use graduated primary rough. This setup creates a tougher and more challenging recovery shot for those who hit their drives farther off-line.
The first cut of primary rough is 5 metres wide and mowed between 70 – 80 mm,
depending on the length of the hole.
The second cut of rough is mowed to 100 mm, depending on the turf growth rate. This height extends to and beyond the gallery rope lines.
Maintenance: New sand has been added to all bunkers. All 96 bunkers are hand-raked.
Congressional C.C. crew size: 55 for 36 holes.  (We have a maximum in peak summer of 18.)Number of mechanics on staff during the Open: 3
Number of volunteers: 120. (We have Dads Army on Tuesday mornings.)Most  volunteers are experienced golf course superintendents and assistant superintendents who volunteer their time for the week.
Where the volunteers are housed: Nearby in housing at American University.
How the maintenance crew and volunteers are fed: Breakfast, lunch and dinner is prepared by the Congressional C.C. chef for the entire maintenance staff and volunteers.
Typical hours worked during the championship: Morning shift 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. Afternoon shift 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Staff is on the property throughout the day in case of rain.
Miscellaneous Maintenance Points:
Amount of extra equipment on hand: Six walking greens mowers, four walking collar mowers, eight turf rollers, four walking tee mowers, 19 five-gang fairway mowers, (we have two five gang mowers)  three rotary rough units with 9-foot cutting width, two rotary rough units with 6-foot cutting width, one reel rough unit with 6-foot cutting width, two mechanical bunker rakes, 22 maintenance carts and 36 squeegees.
Typical mowing schedule during the championship: All principal in-play areas will be mown every day. Greens, tees and fairways are mown twice a day.
Soil moisture: Monitored by in-ground soil sensors and hand-held soil moisture meters. The greens are also equipped with an underground water evacuation system, meaning they drain well.
Soil Firmness: The firmness of the greens will be measured each day (morning and evening) using the USGA TruFirm system to monitor soil firmness. A relative range has been pre-determined for each green to gauge the receptiveness of the green in holding an approach shot.

Congressional CC

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