I had the opportunity to go down to Sydney to see the start of the Australian Open at The Australian GC and came away very impressed with the turf quality and attention to detail being shown in the course preparation including staff brushing sand away between groups so there was no sand outside the bunkers visible on TV. An army of volunteers have joined the usual crew to prepare the course for the event and apart from having a good look at the course it was great to see Scott Gardiner playing live. Although I think I need to stay away from him as he bogeyed the first two holes I watched on the Friday but he is still well placed going in to Saturday.
|Scott playing from 18 bunker Friday|
|Using a broom to brush sand away from the surface between groups|
The week didn't start that well though with an irrigation mainline blowing out in the middle of the LHS bunker on 13W green. The green and associated mounding was obviously built after the mainline was installed and the repair hole finished up being 8 feet deep and a 2.7 metre section of pipe needed to be replaced. Fortunately a couple of the sub contractors were able to come in and assist as the entire irrigation system needed to be shut down and with Bent greens any more than 24 hours without water in this climate can be life threatening for the turf. This is one of the bunkers proposed to be filled in the Course Improvement Plan works that are scheduled for early next year so it will be filled as soon as the ground is dry enough to work on.
The cover is off 13R green (which wasn't all that easy in the howling wind!) and the strike and growth for the first two weeks is outstanding. Runners are just starting to move and full cover should be achieved ahead of time.
|13R cover coming off|
|Excellent root establishment at 13R|
|13R 2 weeks after planting|