2019 U.S. Open musings: highlights from the maintenance facility

By |  June 13, 2019 0 Comments
Photo: Kelly Limpert

Pebble Beach shining in the sunlight during U.S. Open week. Photo: Kelly Limpert

The last time the world had its eyes on Pebble Beach, Mother Nature was delivering torrential downpours and even some hail for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Four months later, the weather has been the complete opposite.

“It’s been a Chamber of Commerce week for us,” says Pebble Beach Assistant Superintendent Bubba Wright. “It’s been absolutely beautiful.”

And you better believe the crew was using the good forecast to their advantage.

Monday morning maintenance came at a 4:30 a.m. start. Seth and I, fueled by U.S. Open excitement and a couple cups of coffee for me, were there to take in the whole experience and seeing a massive crew get organized and out in a timely fashion like that was quite impressive.

Crews were out working in pitch darkness wearing headlamps and working around bunkers, mowing fairways, rolling approaches and more for several hours.

The hard work paid off, Wright explained later that day before the evening maintenance shift.

Photo: Kelly Limpert

Not a bad view from a fairway mower. Photo: Kelly Limpert

“I heard nothing but outstanding comments from players, the USGA and fans so kudos to everybody in here,” he said.

More than 100 staff members and volunteers representing 12 states and 13 countries are on site this week to help out. Yep, that’s not a typo, more countries than U.S. states are represented at this U.S. Open.

Folks from all different backgrounds come together for this event. A lot of connections are made during major tournaments and that’s one of the main points for the volunteers.

“I hope to make some lifelong friendships with all the other volunteers and employees here at Pebble Beach,” says Seth Smith of Royal Oaks Country Club.

Photo: Kelly Limpert

Pebble Beach Assistant Superintendent gives one hell of a Pebble Beach tour, I must admit. Photo: Kelly Limpert

Idris Evans made the trek from Australia, but this wasn’t his first time volunteering at a U.S. Open. Back in 2014, he sent out a tweet that expressed his desire to help out at a U.S. Open. Chris Lewis, then superintendent at Chambers Bay (along with Eric Johnson), host course of the following year’s U.S. Open, reached out and got the ball rolling on getting Evans out to the Pacific Northwest — his first of many U.S. Opens.

Support, mentorship and camaraderie can be found at courses across the globe, but the crew at Pebble seems to have each of these in spades. The team — Chris Dalhamer, Bubba Wright, Jack Holt, to name a few of the key members — has done a lot to make sure everyone here feels like they are part of the Pebble Beach family and that says a lot about them as professionals and people.

Special shout-out to Jack for being especially welcoming to me. He’s been at Pebble Beach for almost 40 years and has seen his fair share of change. Check out our video with him to learn about some of those changes in the past four decades.

Stay tuned for more of our coverage from the 2019 U.S. Open.

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