Keith Bartlett, superintendent for the St. George’s Golf and Country Club, will be a key man in the weeks leading up to the 2010 RBC Canadian Open. As the Open gets closer, Keith will be contributing a regular blog on GNN, describing his experiences and what goes into preparing the course for a PGA Tour event.
The contributions of people from other golf courses has certainly helped me as the St. George’s Golf and Country Club prepares for the RBC Canadian Open.
Dean Baker, the superintendent at North Halton in Georgetown, Ont., spent 15 years or more at Glen Abbey, which was home to the Canadian Open for so many years.
Dean has helped with all the things you have to deal with leading up to the tournament. I’m talking about turf issues that I’m seeing and concerns that I have and so on.
He gives me a really good perspective on how to manage a PGA Tour event and what expectations are, so thanks to that input, the level of anxiety goes way down.
With Rhod Trainor of the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, I get his years of experience, his great knowledge of turf and his experience of hosting it from a private golf course perspective and what your members expect and want to see before and after the event, as well as dealing with all the suppliers that are going to be on site.
I get a really good perspective on things from those two, but I also tap into a few other colleagues who are really good grass growers and ask them for advice.
I don’t have to know everything. I just have to know who does know different things. I really tap into several resources, regardless of whether it’s a Canadian Open year or a regular year. It’s a great industry that way.
Eventually, someone you talk to is probably going to have dealt with any particular challenge. No year is ever the same. Some years, there are surprises.
Having people to bounce things off is a great resource in the last few weeks leading up to the tournament because it’s been a very stressful turf-growing season so far and it’s easy to over-think things, so the input of others lowers that anxiety on certain issues and it’s worked out well.
Dean, Rhod and others are not the only people contributing to the Open. We have 42 volunteers signed up to assist us during tournament week. They’re taking a week away from their golf courses to be here.
Some are superintendents, some are assistants. It’s a split shift, but some of them will be there all day if they wish, along with my staff and other types of industry support, either mechanics or just equipment support.
They’ve been very willing volunteers. I haven’t had to knock on any doors. We’ve received a lot of great support throughout the entire industry.
Everybody wants to see the RBC Canadian Open be a success, aside from the staff and members at St. George’s.
For people who are volunteering, what a great experience. They get to experience preparation for a Canadian Open and who knows where it will be the next time it comes to Toronto, This could be as close as it gets for proximity to their own golf courses.