IT'S HERE. Well, nearly. And, in all honesty, I've never seen the course here at Killeen Castle looking as well. With just a matter of days to go before the Solheim Cup actually starts, the arrival of a few European players to play a practice round yesterday - the first players to play the course for a couple of weeks - brought home the fact the years of preparation are complete and we're coming down the home stretch. The years have turned to months, then weeks and, now, days!
The course was closed to play for the past two weeks and it has been an eventful couple of weeks, on and off the course, but it has all gone really well. We're ready, and the course is ready. The lack of traffic on the course for the past fortnight has made a huge difference, particularly on the greens. We've had little or no golf on the course during that time and it has really enabled it to recover fantastically.
The Ladies Irish Open last month was a great success and the amount of golf which Killeen Castle has put through in recent months is great from a business perspective but very difficult from a course preparation point of view. So, the two weeks when the course was closed for play was very necessary and we have got the growth of grass to the density we wanted for the Solheim Cup.
In terms of course preparation, we've had a constant mowing of the grass to improve density and we've also repaired ball marks and got the surfaces cleaned up. The almost two weeks of course closure has allowed surfaces to come back and we've got in a lot of bunker work too, getting the steep faces we have packed up with sand. We've worked to our programme and I've got to say the course is in marvellous condition.
The fairways are a picture. For the Irish Open, we went half and half - light and dark - but for the Solheim Cup we have a diamond pattern on the fairways and it looks brilliant. Spectators are in for a treat. We've adjusted the rope line and, in a lot of cases, the line is right on top of the fairways and almost right on top of the greens. From a spectators' point of view, it will be absolutely phenomenal. We'll have large amounts of people following matches and getting fantastic views.
See the rest of the article on the folowing link Irish Times.com