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.
I find that this is the most stressful time before the RBC Canadian Open is played in just a few weeks here at St. George’s Golf and Country Club.
The month leading up to the tournament is when things can go bad, so that’s where I lose my sleep. Once I get to advance week and tournament week, a lot of things are out of my control. Then, I’m managing staff on how the PGA Tour wants things set up.
Up until advance week, I’ve got to make sure the course is ready for when their agromists show up and we start working on how we’re going to manage the greens and green speeds and so on. I know the criteria they’re looking for and we need to make sure it’s there to work with when they arrive.
During advance week with the PGA Tour agronomists, we’ll be trying to meet guidelines, but I think there’s a lot of feedback that they’ll accept from me on a few things.
We’re obviously going to have to react to certain situations in those two weeks, but we’ll have lots of people if we need to react quickly. We have the squeegees ready and we’ve got everything ready to go.
For advance week, I want to make sure we have the bunkers prepped, the divots filled and focus on final grooming. We’ve got the seatbelts on and hopefully, the weather cooperates.
Of course, we’ll be trying the best we can to make St. George’s look good for the television cameras that will be covering the event for people around the world. Colour-wise, we’ve picked our products that we’re ready to use in the last week and we want to make sure the plants have the nutrients they need.
I want to make sure we have proper disease management, so it’s a matter of spoon-feeding everything so we can have the control we need to maximize our colour.
One of the looks that I like – and you can see it at other tournaments – is minimal striping on the golf course. Our fairways will be cut 50-50, the traditional way. Even cutting tees, I don’t like cutting them length-wise because, if you don’t get them lined up perfectly, they can look worse, so we’ll be cutting cross-wise.
I want to minimize striping and let the turf show very simply. I like the way golf courses look when they’re simple and not all striped up like tartan pants.
Advance week is coming quickly, but show time is already here as we get ready for its arrival.