Talking U.S. Open conditions with USGA’s Bevard

By |  June 18, 2015 0 Comments

I caught up with Darin Bevard, the USGA’s director of championship agronomy, and we chatted a little about the greens, those little white dots on them, and how he felt about his first U.S. Open as the USGA’s director of championship agronomy. Here are some of the highlights:

On playability of the greens:

“The important thing is, the focus should be on how they play. Playability is ultimately what you’re after. You have a unique stand of grasses here that you can dry down and as soon as you put water on them they spruce back up. But again, not unlike Pinehurst last year, you have to have the right combination of grasses to dry down, and the right weather to do it.

I think for fescue greens, they’re just about perfect.”

On how players can tell if they’re on a green or not:

“They’ve used the white dots to define the putting greens. It’s a straight line from dot to dot.

We’ll have rules officials with every group. We look at it as not being too much of an issue. We had to do it at Bandon Dunes, and in 2010 here for the U.S. Amateur. It’s something we’re comfortable with.”

On how the course is holding up down the stretch:


“We feel really good about the way it’s going so far. With all the data we’ve been collecting for ten solid days, we have 1) an understanding of how the course is going to play, and 2) how to manage it throughout the day. Where we need to be in the morning to not have the golf course be too firm in the afternoon, or too fast.”

Any surprises?

“Not really. From the time we started working with Josh, and Eric, they’ve been solid all the way, providing us with information. And they’ve been really accurate in the process. What they’ve told us has come to pass.

One of the surprises has been that we’re in the Pacific Northwest, and you don’t expect to be in a six-week drought, with 80 degree temperatures. It’s been nice to be able to control the water.”

The weather has been ideal, will it hold?

“From our meteorologists, the chance of rain is almost zero. If we get anything, it’ll be a misty, foggy couple hours, but not rain.”

What is your plan with the greens going forward?

“Keep them on the path. Continue to water them for plant health, as needed. Also for firmness, to keep them in the range we’re trying to keep them in.”

This is your first U.S. Open as director of championship agronomy. How is the tournament going for you?

“Having (USGA West Regional Agronomist) Larry Gilhuly and (USGA Northeast Regional Director) Dave Oatis to support me, plus Eric and Josh, it’s been a collaborative effort. It’s good with a site that’s new — some of the challenges are just that it’s a site that’s different. Everybody’s been great. We’re in good shape.”

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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