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AGRONOMY - INSIGHT

“When Dustin Johnson shoots 60, like he did in the second round of THE NORTHERN TRUST in 2020, we know the greens are smooth.” — Tom Brodeur, Golf Course Superintendent, TPC Boston

A careful balance The 2020 BMW Championship at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club was not superintendent Sam MacKenzie’s first big championship. His 36-hole club on Chicago’s South Side had been home to the 2015 U.S. Amateur, won by Bryson DeChambeau. But this was MacKenzie’s first big PGA TOUR event, and he came away impressed with how the agronomic setup team paid respect to the particular character of the club’s Willie Park Jr.-designed North Course. “With any championship golf course,” MacKenzie said, “you’re balancing the desire for speed with the need to make sure the greens don’t get so fast that you lose valuable hole locations because of the classic slopes.” 134  PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE  June – December 2021

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Tournament week proved dry, warm and windy, with anticipated rains never materializing. The course showed its edge, with players having to negotiate 6-foot putts with a bit of curve. Jon Rahm and Johnson played off at 4-under 276, and Rahm’s decisive putt (66 feet, which broke 10 feet left to right), testifies to the difficulty of the resulting challenge. Yet it was a test that the players responded to favorably.

Tech and knowledge Setting up a golf course for the world’s most demanding and closely watched stage is not a cookie-cutter formulation. It entails respect for the design and character of the golf course, and it utilizes the most advanced techniques that modern agronomy can offer. Week after week, that standard is achieved on the PGA TOUR. Small wonder that viewers at home look on in awe at the results. 

images: PGA TOUR

stand of healthy, lush overseeded ryegrass for the tees and fairways. The championship went off smoothly on that basis.

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05/07/2021 11:50

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