U.S. Open Agronomic Diary: Day 9

U.S. Open Agronomic Diary: Day 9

Pinehurst No. 2's Kevin Robinson provides an exclusive behind-the-scenes turf maintenance dispatch from the U.S. Open Championships.

June 17, 2014

Editor's note: This exclusive editorial content is made possible through a parternship with the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association. The following dispatch is from Monday, June 16.

This was a day to recharge for all of us. We got the morning shift taken care of then I think most of us found a spot and made the most of it for about two hours. The Fair Barn was full of guys in hammocks, on sleeping bags and cots. I lay down on the couch in my office and was all the better for it.

I think we’ll be even more recharged tomorrow because we also called it a day about two hours earlier than we have been. We were out raking bunkers, patching divots and picking up the flagsticks and tee-markers at about 6 p.m. when a storm cell came up and was sitting just south of us. There was lightning and it really looked pretty threatening. So we decided to be smart. We didn’t need anyone getting hurt. We can take care of anything that was left over tomorrow.

Although maybe Bob Farren (CGCS director of grounds and golf course maintenance) might not be quite as refreshed as the rest of us. He had his family in for the end of the men’s Open and his son Casey is from San Antonio. So apparently there were some happy – and loud – people at the Farren house on Sunday night when he was trying to sleep. So I think he caught him a nap at some point today too.

In the end, the storm didn’t hit us. It skirted by, but we may not be so lucky as the week goes on. They are still forecasting temperatures in the mid-90s and that’s going to brew up some thunderstorms along the way. I’m not worried about the greens at all. But storms could create some headaches just in terms of interruptions to schedules and with wash outs and debris.

The early feedback from the women is that they can’t believe the greens just went through a men’s Open. We gave them a good drink last night, but we really didn’t lose much, if anything, in terms of speed. The women just love how truly the ball is rolling.

I am so happy with how the greens have done. They were so healthy coming into these two weeks. I admit, I’d be pretty worried about what’s coming up over the next week if we had to get them through the rest of the summer. But I am confident they can make it through what we need them to do before the Champion rolls in about two weeks from now.

The afternoon meeting with the USGA folks went well. They were very proud of the job that our staff and the volunteers did for the men’s Open. They couldn’t believe how well the greens have done either. I’d been out with the USGA folks earlier in the day as they were working out where they wanted to cut the holes and place the tee markers. I continue to be impressed with the thoroughness they bring to it.

I got a really nice email today from Matt Shaffer (host superintendent for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club). He just said how much he enjoyed seeing the dry conditions and how the golf course played. I’d spent some time with Matt the other year just to get a sense of what we might be in for and he was very helpful. I know we all gripe about our profession at some time or another, but there are a lot of wonderful people in it. We’ve had a lot of them working with us this week and messages like Matt’s just show there are a lot of others who are here in spirit.

For the record, my steak on Sunday night was delicious. I reckon it was gone in two bites. Then the eyes got heavy pretty quickly after that.

Trent Bouts assisted in the creation of this article.

Kevin Robinson's Day 8 diary (with links to Days 1-7 at bottom)