Fred Klauk has directed course management activities for The Players since 1985, but even he realizes that the atmosphere will be just a bit different this year as the world’s best golfers descend upon TPC Sawgrass for the championship, May 10-13.
For starters, there is a new date on the schedule, two months later than it has traditionally been held. That fact in itself creates some new course management programs for Klauk as the course will not undergo the overseeding as was done in the past. In addition, a sparkling new clubhouse welcomes players and patrons alike. But the biggest change is the newly-renovated course, which opened last November and will greet the competitors.
Klauk, a Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Class A golf course superintendent, was entrusted with keeping daily watch during the process. An accomplished golfer and former club champion himself, his interest will not only lie in the conditions, but the strategies the players will engage to attack the course. The massive $60 million renovation project began following the 2006 Players Championship. Included in the process was:
All 18 fairways were stripped of six inches of organic matter buildup, new drain tile was installed throughout each fairway and filled with 16 football fields worth of sand
New drainage was installed, plus a SubAir System for every green, including the putting and chipping greens in the practice area. SubAir is a system of pipes and tunnels below the greens that can pull moisture down through the grass or push oxygen up through the root zone, depending on which is needed. Subsurface aeration increases root growth, which leads to healthier plants and reducing the need for fungicides and fertilizers, while providing better playing conditions and allowing golfers to play in rain and other marginal weather conditions.
The greens were re-grassed with a new bermudagrass called Miniverdi
A new irrigation system was installed
Greenside bunkers were deepened
Holes 1, 8, 11, 14, 16 and 18 were moderately lengthened (122 yards in all) by moving the championship tees back so that the course can reach 7,215 yards
The 12th green was rebuilt entirely and raised 2½ feet
Three pot-style fairway bunkers were added along the right side of the seventh fairway
New golf car paths (necessitating 370 truckloads of concrete) were built
New bridges were installed and many of the course’s trademark spectator mounds were reshaped and leveled off at the top to better accommodate the installation of sky boxes
For more on the process, the following link provides a story published in the May 2007 edition of GCSAA’s monthly magazine, GCM:
Built in 1982 on a marshland, TPC Sawgrass is a unique golf course in both design and philosophy. It is a fully-certified in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf Courses. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses was created to help others understand and address pertinent environmental issues and make meaningful contributions to improving environmental quality.
GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 21,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. The association’s philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf, works to strengthen the compatibility of golf with the natural environment through research grants, support for education programs and outreach efforts. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org.
Jeff Bollig, GCSAA director of communications
(800) 472-7878, ext. 4430 or firstname.lastname@example.org