A beautiful week of weather and maybe spring has now sprung? On Tuesday we had a very sleepy Carpet Python crossing 13R fairway and several bee swarms as well as the return of the Rainbow Bee Eaters to the courses, which are all good signs of spring. Some of the grass is also starting to move which is not before time as with the amount of cart traffic and play we are experiencing some areas are just plain worn out. The seed head is starting to show on some of the different Couch varieties around the courses which is also a sign of warmer temperatures. Fortunately we have had better rainfall this year which helps enormously with the turf's resilience. The past two years we had around 230mm of rain falling between May and August compared to 425 this year and most forecasts are for a wet summer so we will wait and see on that one.
A productive week on the courses with the River greens de-thatched and double mown on Tuesday which as I have mentioned before is quite a rarity for us to achieve, within our maintenance time frames. We also started on some tree root removal in some fairways and will continue that in the coming weeks. The tractor mounted root pruner will also make an appearance over the coming weeks down the sides of fairways.
|Tree root snaking out on 5R fairway. |
The world of golf's eyes are pretty much firmly on the US Open at Winged Foot and as always there is much talk about the course. I haven't seen any first round coverage yet but people seem to be upset that the scores were so low. It was apparently quite soft and calm and with the shortened daylight hours at this time of year they were probably concerned about players finishing. They are estimating that 90% of the course prep work will take place in the dark which they are well set up for with mobile light towers and obviously all machinery having lights. The normal crew of 55 will be bolstered by 85 volunteers which is amazing that so many were allowed given Covid. And speaking of lots of people, apparently there will be up to twelve marshals on each hole basically acting as fore-caddies to prevent lost balls.
Kudos to the crew though as the early photos I have seen has the course looking pristine. The course was completely overhauled between 2016 and 2018 and the focus since that finished was June 2020 for the US Open. Earlier this year thanks to Covid, that became September 2020 and threw up a major curve ball as it is the end of summer and it is a cool season turfgrass course, so they had to keep the grass totally pristine throughout a full summer, which is no mean feat. Don't get me wrong, Winged Foot is always pristine, but to maintain US Open level pristine, including five inch long rough throughout a summer, is phenomenal.
A lot of the restoration work focused on the greens which are, and always have been, treacherous. All bunkers and tees were re-built and several holes were lengthened. Most of the play lines are as they were as can be seen at 18 tee below. The photo at the top is Jim Furyk on 18 tee in 2006 and below is 18 tee for this year. Pretty tight lines??!!
|Furyk on 18 tee 2006.|
|18 tee this year!!|