There’s No Place Like Home July 21, 2014 By Larry Gilhuly

A small, hard-working group led by Kelly Donaldson (right) and Dennis Roque (back left) created playing conditions that 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Champion Alice Jo (center) truly appreciated.

On July 19, the 37-year run of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship (WAPL) came to an end in DuPont, Wash., at the aptly named The Home Course. The Home Course is the “home” of golf in the Pacific Northwest, as it is owned and operated by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and the Washington State Golf Association. The Home Course is also home to a wide variety of wildlife and has a historical past that is unmatched by any other course in the region. To read more about this unique site, go to The Home Course or visit The Home Course, DuPont, WA: Dynamite New Layout. However, the preceding are not the only unique aspects of The Home Course. The remarkable performance by Kelly Donaldson, director of agronomy; Dennis Roque, superintendent; and the remaining maintenance staff of 10 during the 2014 WAPL was equally special.

Preparing courses for national championships almost always calls for a much increased maintenance regime. Often there are plenty of volunteers from neighboring courses that pitch in to bring the course to peak playing quality for the event. However, for those courses hosting a championship in the middle of the golf season, volunteers are often hard to come by since they are already working long days at their own courses. Such was the case at The Home Course where the staff of 12, with assistance from local superintendents who helped set hole locations, worked diligently to complete course set up every morning and returned every afternoon to prepare for the next day. With the demands of “firm and fast” and less reliance on the automatic irrigation system, the maintenance staff did a fabulous job achieving desired conditions through extensive hand watering of greens, surrounds and fairways, where needed. When added to double mowing and rolling greens in the morning, single mowing and rolling greens in the afternoon, hand raking most of the bunkers daily and mowing all in-play areas daily (excluding roughs), it is easy to see how impressive their work was for such a small group. As they say in DuPont, “There’s no place like home.”

Source: Larry Gilhuly (

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