Ain’t Brown Grand?

By |  July 20, 2006

I just spent the day visiting several superintendents in the northern California area. Ray Davies, senior operations manager and director of golf course maintenance and construction for Tracy, Calif.-based CourseCo, gave me a tour of several of the company’s facilities. The day also happened to be the opening round of the British Open at Royal Liverpool and several of the CourseCo superintendents couldn’t help but comment on the course’s brown grass. Adam Schauer, superintendent of CourseCo’s Deep Cliff Golf Course in Cupertino, Calif., was raving about the dry turf. “That’s the way golf should be played,” he said.

How hot and dry has it been at Royal Liverpool recently? (Please, no-dog-chasing-fire-hydrants jokes here.) It has been so hot that British Open officials posted scoreboard notices warning of fire hazards at the course. They even told John Daly to watch where he tosses his cigarette butts.

Upon returning to my hotel from my tour with Davies, I received this e-mail from Jerry Coldiron, the certified superintendent at Boone County Golf in Florence, Ky. Wrote Coldiron:

“To all my golfing friends, I hope you get a chance to see some of the British Open this weekend and see how the game was meant to be played and a course maintained. I love the Open, and wish we could all maintain courses in a little more environmentally friendly, rough-and-tumble style. I have always worked to manage toward a compromise between Americanized courses and the more traditional British look and feel. … In closing I hope you will join me in accepting, and not being so critical, of non-perfect golf course layouts and maintenance practices.”

It’s safe to say that superintendents like Schauer and Coldiron are hoping Joe Golfer watches this year’s British Open closely and comes away with the notion that brown ain’t so bad.

— Larry Aylward, Editor and Chief

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