Keith Bartlett, the superintendent at St. George’s Golf and Country Club, has been contributing a regular GNN blog as he prepared the course for last week’s RBC Canadian Open. In this contribution, he looks back at the week that was and ahead to getting the course ready for the club championship, which gets underway Aug. 13.
With the club championship coming up, I’ve got my second major of the year after the RBC Canadian Open concluded on Sunday.
There teardown, so far, is going well. The damage to the golf course is not that bad considering the rain we had during the Open.
The range should be back to the membership by today or tomorrow at the latest. As the structures come down, we’re aerating any areas where the support pads were for the metal structures.
We’re also mowing the rough down and we’ll be down to member height, about two-and-a-half inches, by next week. The height during the Open was four inches at the minimum and you could see that, regardless of the height, when the conditions are soft, it’s hard to defend the golf course.
It’s a hard thing to communicate that the PGA Tour sets the golf course up, they indicate to me what they want and they monitor what I do.
What was going to defend this golf course was golf balls rolling off the fairway into the rough, firmer greens and quicker speeds. Balls that should have been rolling into the rough did not.
Any player out there can get streaky and the next thing you know, they’re shooting lights out and it didn’t matter where you tuck the pins.
I’ve just started to watch some of the television and I’m watching shots where these guys are hitting downhill from four-inch rough or five-inch rough and they’re still sticking it close to the pin.
People might have been thinking make it faster, make it faster, but the rules official also indicated that the more you force these guys to take a bigger putting stroke, the more chance they have to push or pull it, but the slower greens, because of the weather, took some of the slope factor of the greens out.
You could see on Sunday, the golf course was starting to bite back when we got a little bit of wind and it dried up a little bit. It started to play as we expected it to play and that was indicated in the scores.
There were a lot of positives. The golf course showed well, the spectators were entertained and a lot of people came on the property and recognized what a great golf course it is at St. George’s.
The players loved it. I didn’t get to speak to any of them, but all the feedback I got is they loved this golf course. The PGA Tour was pleased with the setup
The fact that we played here on Friday after the rain says something about our drainage. You wouldn’t have been able to play at a lot of other places, so how good is that? You never would have known it had rained by the bunkers.
If people want to get attached to the score, well you know what? That 14-under isn’t unusual on the PGA Tour these days.
We really couldn’t have gotten the greens much faster. The PGA Tour was worried that some of the slopes of the greens would turn it into a circus and the players never said it was or that could have led to bad publicity.
The players got a taste of how this course can play on Tuesday in the practice round because it was firming up out there and the greens were rolling well.
I’m pleased with our efforts. Someone asked me if I was disappointed with the scores. My job is to get the golf course ready. I was asked a couple of times where you could put pins on front nine holes, but the PGA Tour sets up golf courses every week. They know how to do it.
I hope we can host the Open again in the future, so we can get the conditions we want.