Sunday, June 28
Course News: Pinehurst and Medinah Attract Major Events
Contributed by GCM NewsWeekly
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
BETHPAGE BLACK RECENTLY SHARED the spotlight with a couple of other famous American venues − Pinehurst No. 2 and Medinah Country Club.
The big golf course news on U.S. Open weekend was that the USGA and Pinehurst officials had agreed that the Donald Ross masterpiece, course No. 2 − site of the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens − will host both the men’s and women’s Opens on back-to-back weeks in 2014.
While the USGA has conducted different championships on the same course in the same year in the past, never have two major events been held at the same venue in successive weeks.
Meanwhile, Medinah, site of the 2012 Ryder Cup, announced that its membership had overwhelmingly approved a $3 million-plus renovation of its No. 3 course in advance of those matches. The Chicago-area club most recently hosted the 2006 PGA Championship.
The back-to-back national championships at Pinehurst (June 12-15 for the men and June 19-22 for the women) will be a considerable cost-cutting move for the USGA, which, among other things, will be able to utilize single tournament and corporate infrastructure for two events, as well as generate immense, almost uninterrupted interest in the game for a long period of time.
In golf course management circles, however, there have been many wondering what the effect of the successive major events will have on the Pinehurst staff, specifically superintendent Paul Jett, CGCS, and his maintenance crew, not only in maintaining championship tournament conditions over a much longer time span, but also in dealing with the nuances between men’s and women’s professional golf.
Thus far, Jett, a 23-year GCSAA member, has taken an upbeat approach to the task.
“I think it speaks to the ability of the entire resort to do what they (USGA) have planned. They would not have even asked us if they did not think we could do it,” Jett told Jeff Bollig, GCSAA’s managing director of marketing and communications.
“Obviously, it speaks well of the golf course management staff. We were brought into the discussion about three months ago and we told them we could deliver what they needed.
“We’ll know more after we talk to Mike Davis [USGA director of rules and championships and responsible for the course setups], but just off the top of my head, we’ll have to reduce the length, maybe knock down the rough a bit and perhaps soften the greens slightly,” Jett added concerning setup changes between tournaments.
Medinah Will Be Ready
The project at Medinah CC, which was established in 1925 and has hosted six of golf’s major championships, was approved by a 4-1 margin of the membership in a time when private clubs across the country are struggling in the down economy. The project will close the No. 3 course from Aug. 15 to next June.
“What this overwhelming vote means is that we now will be able to bring our crown jewel up to the world-class level where we want it to be. It will be ready for the 2012 Ryder Cup for the whole world to see. The membership is happy,” club president John Potts said during the announcement.
The renovation will include a complete remodeling of 11 greens − seven were rebuilt in preparation for the 2006 PGA − and the regrassing of the greens to a new bentgrass. All the fairways and intermediate rough will be regrassed to drive out Poa Annua and new golf car paths will be built.
The project will also be a bonanza for the Medinah director of grounds, Curtis Tyrrell, CGCS, and his staff. They’ll be getting a fully renovated and expanded golf course maintenance facility.
For more information about golf course management, visit GCSAA.org.