Modular teebox perfect for Tiger

Simon Jacobin Golf


The term "tiger tees" took on new meaning at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club here recently.

When Buick Golf Operations Manager Harvey Chang decided to have Tiger Woods put on a clinic for 2,300 Buick Open spectators on the 18th green, the problem was, what could Tiger best tee off from?

"We looked at synthetic turf," Chang said, but a friend from Peter Jacobsen Productions appeared to have the best solution: the GreenTech modular Integrated Turf Management System (ITM).

Michigan State University, one of the pioneers of the technology, offered free use of four of these 4-by-4-foot interlocking trays that are 11 inches deep, filled with root-zone mix and growing real grass.

"It worked perfectly," said Warwick Hills superintendent Phil Owens. "The ticket [to making it work] was an inch to two inches of heavy foam padding like you use in bedding. We laid that down on the green first, then three-quarter-inch plywood to disperse the weight across the foam. With thin plywood, the edges tend to dig into the green. The modules went on top of the plywood."

Once MSU delivered the 1,500-pound modules, set-up took only an hour, Owens said.

"This is a perfect application for our modular trays," said John Patton, vice president of Richmond, Va.-based GreenTech. "People like the modular idea, but it's different, so we are exposing the technology in different ways. Modular trays can solve many problems associated with golf courses. For instance, you can maintain a set of artificial-turf modules to rotate with your natural-turf modules. Or, you can rotate natural-turf trays once or twice a year to let the grass revive on heavily shaded teeboxes where it is difficult to grow grass, or small driving ranges that take a lot of wear and tear."

At Warwick Hills, with sports broadcaster Mike Tirico of Ann Arbor's ABC affiliate emceeing, Woods proceeded to thrill the standing-room-only crowd, nailing shots to every yardage marker on the fairway and sending to flight slices, fades, draws, whatever was requested.

"It was a very relaxed atmosphere," said Chang, a relaxation heightened, behind the scenes, by the knowledge that this temporary teebox for Tiger would do no harm to the Buick Open's finishing hole.

Simon Jacob
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