The 2016 U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania is quickly approaching. The best golfers in the world will be challenged by fast greens and firm conditions if the weather cooperates. At some golf courses, superintendents are approached by course officials and customers that wonder why their golf course, especially their greens, cannot be maintained like the courses they see on television. Preparation “inside the ropes” of the U.S. Open Championship is a massive undertaking that requires extra maintenance staff, volunteers and equipment.
Consider these points:
●Preparation for the U.S. Open Championship begins several years in advance of the event. Often, the frequency of aeration and topdressing is dramatically increased one to two years before hosting a U.S. Open Championship. Extra aeration and topdressing provides the best opportunity to present firm, fast conditions and promotes healthy turf. In the last two growing seasons, the putting greens at Oakmont Country Club have been double drilled-and-filled four times, core aerated five times, deep verticut five times and deep-tine aerated four times. The aeration programs implemented at Oakmont Country Club are very aggressive and represent a significant disruption to playability that most golfers would not tolerate.
●The approximately 40-person golf course maintenance staff at Oakmont Country Club will be supplemented by more than 100 volunteers during the U.S. Open Championship. That equates to seven workers per hole with an additional 14 people available to tend to practice facilities and other areas. Many of the maintenance volunteers during U.S. Open Championships are superintendents, assistant superintendents, and other experienced turfgrass industry professionals. Equipment distributors also will supply additional equipment during the U.S. Open Championship, allowing maintenance tasks to be completed quicker than normal.