Working with the Champions
By Eoghan Buckley, MSc
As an intern at Sawgrass I have been involved in all golf course maintenance operations, from daily mowing to irrigation installation and repairs. The superintendent Fred Klauk, together with his assistants, are keen that every intern is exposed to all aspects of golf course operations. The management staff are also very helpful, answering any questions regarding turf management.
The greens, Bermuda (Tifdwarf 419) are overseeded with rough stalked meadowgrass (Poa trivialis) at a rate of 60g/m2 in October of each year. Poa trivialis is preferred over perennial ryegrass and creeping bentgrass as the overseeding crop as it forms a denser sward in a shorter space of time. Crucially, however it allows for a quicker transition back to bermuda in the summer due to its poor heat tolerance.
Currently, we are gearing up for the Players Championship 2004, which will take place from March 25-28. Previous winners include Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Nick Price and Jack Nicklaus. With 63 greenside bunkers and 31 waste bunkers and a total of 6,953 yards of course, the work is very intense. This will be especially so on the morning of the tournament when the greens will be double cut at 2.5mm and double-rolled in the morning and, single cut in the evening following play, however, its extremely enjoyable and exciting.
Following the tournament I will move back to Congressional to complete my 12 months of training in the states. I hope that I by that time I will have experienced some of what America has to offer me in golf course management techniques before I return to somewhere in Europe.
The MSc in Sports Surface Technology is a only postgraduate programme currently offered in the UK and Europe which focuses on providing the understanding to apply advanced principles of soil, water and vegetation management with mechanisation, irrigation, construction and business management skills to the successful management of sports surfaces and facilities.
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