Friday, March 12
How to Blow Dry Trump International with a Helicopter
(Photos courtesy of Rob Hayashida of Golf Views)
ARMCHAIR GOLF is in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, for the Puerto Rico Open.
I’VE SEEN A LOT of things on a golf course. Today I saw something new: a helicopter used as a giant blow dryer on a rain-deluged championship layout.
Desperate measures were in order for the Trump International Golf Club at the 2010 Puerto Rico Open. The championship layout had taken on more than six inches of rain in the last 24 hours, and a tournament that was scheduled to start at 7 a.m. on Thursday was still delayed at noon on Friday. A grounds crew armed with squeegees and pumps and working through the night could only do so much.
The loud whirr of the propellers signaled that the operation was underway. The helicopter started on the 1st hole, just as a golfer would. After flying a short distance along the fairway, it dropped down to just a few feet above the surface, hovering in place with its propellers rotating at high speed. Occasionally, men who dared to get close seemed to be directing the pilot as nearby palm trees swayed in the helicopter’s wake. It was a strange sight.
No word on the model of the helicopter, which belongs to Jorge Diaz, owner of the property. (Is there a preferred fairway-drying model?) I expect it worked fine, an important piece of equipment during this very soggy week at the Puerto Rico Open.
Professional golfers are a bit like reptiles. However, instead of sunning themselves on rocks after torrential rain, they emerge from their hotel rooms and the players’ dining room to sun themselves on the practice tee and putting green, working out the kinks after a long weather delay. First-round play will resume at 4:35 p.m. on Friday.
–The Armchair Golfer
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