The ladies made a sensible decision on Tuesday in amongst the rain and shifted their comp to River course only which gave us a run at the West course largely player free which is always a bonus that despite the rain, we take full advantage of. So the greens were double de-thatched and edged and fairways fertilised and it was a very productive day. Fast forward to today and we had 144 players in an 8.30am shotgun on the West and 140 odd players in the members comp from 6.30am 1 tee start and there wasn't much room to move out there!!
I have been taking advantage of "The Players channel" on Foxtel this past week or so and taking in some great golf on an amazing golf course. A few observations;
- The greens were originally Tifdwarf and were then changed to Mini Verde for a few years and then converted to TifEagle 2 years ago.
- Depending on the timing of the tournament the course, including the greens, is fully oversown. That isn't the case this year but will be next year when the tournament date moves back to March which is a much cooler time of year.
- Some of the footage shows the greens browning off which is just the grass used to oversow dying off in the heat. The greens were generally always oversown but since the switch to TifEagle they haven't been but that may change next year with the March date. Sawgrass is far enough north in Florida to get some pretty healthy frosts as per the photo below.
One of the most interesting things was the spike marks on the greens years ago when players still wore steel spikes. One of Steve Elkington's wins saw the greens incredibly spiked up which was one of the toughest aspects of greens preparation back in the day. It was often made more difficult by players deliberately scuffing the turf with their spiked shoes and yet is now not a great a problem with the new soft spikes although some of them can still cause some damage. I bet there would have been a lot of happier players if they were allowed to tap down spike marks as to be introduced next year in the rules change!!
And as usual for the, dare I say it, "major" tournaments, a huge volunteer crew was on hand to assist with course preparations for the event. The photo below shows the maintenance facility at Sawgrass full to the brim.
|Need a lot of bums to fill those seats!!|
|A frosty #18 at Sawgrass in late January.|