(Editor’s note: The below course report was filed before 15 inches of rain drenched the Atlanta area this past weekend, bringing East Lake to the saturation point. The course was closed today but the Tour Championship is still scheduled to begin on Thursday.)
Contributed by GCM NewsWeekly
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
DESPITE A COOL, RAINY summer in Atlanta, East Lake Golf Club’s bermudagrass greens should still play much firmer than the bentgrass greens at the first three FedEx Cup Playoffs events this year, according to course superintendent Ralph Kepple, who has prepped East Lake for this week’s season-ending Tour Championship.
“The greens won’t be as firm as last year,” Kepple said, “partly because it’s been so wet this summer and partly because they are a year older and therefore have a small layer of thatch under them now.
“The players are going to come through those first three events on greens that receive shots pretty well, and then they’re going to come here and these greens are going to be pretty firm.”
Kepple, who is in his 18th year as superintendent at East Lake, says the rough will be a healthy stand of bermudagrass, thanks in large part to more than nine inches of rain received in August. While the rough will be cut at 2 1/4 inches again as in the past, it will be much thicker this year.
No Major Changes
After completing a year-long renovation last year that was highlighted by replacing the bentgrass greens with bermudagrass prior to the Tour Championship, there have been no major changes made to East Lake this year.
Kepple switched to MiniVerde, an ultradwarf bermudagrass, because it is better suited for Georgia’s hot summers. It provides an excellent putting surface, and Kepple expects the greens to measure 12 feet on the Stimpmeter for the championship.
Nearby turfgrass students, area superintendents and assistant superintendents, as well as various vendors from around the region, will make up a group of 72 volunteers aiding Kepple’s staff of 27 during the tournament this week
For more information about East Lake and the Tour Championship from a golf course management perspective, visit GCSAA.org.
(Image: Dan Perry/Flickr)