Watching Swampers and reading greens with Double D

By |  June 14, 2016 0 Comments
Swampers up high

Safety first, say the Swampers.

I just jumped out of the cart with Oakmont’s Director of U.S. Open Operations Dave Delsandro. We did a middle-of-the-day drive around to check on a few things that were top on his list: mainly greens firmness and checking on the Swampers.

First, the Swampers. The Swampers are a team of a few hand-picked guys mostly from Oak Hill, who don’t have any specific job except for troubleshooting the random problems that inevitably pop up when 35,000 people come to your golf course. “You need a port-a-potty moved, you’re not going to pull guys off mowing to move it,” Delsandro told me. “You call the Swampers. These guys, you need them to be more street-smart than book-smart.”

In this case, a TV tower was competing with tree branches, so the tree branches were about to become like so many of their brethren out at Oakmont: history. Since play had just started, Delsandro wanted to make sure the Swampers had the safety of the fans in mind while they did their dirty work.

“You got those (seats) cleared out of fans?” Delsandro hollered about 30 feet. “Sure do!” replied the Swamper from high above. “Safety first for the Oakmont Swampers!”

From there we went and looked at No. 12 green. No 12 has been a closely watched hole this week, as they don’t want the green or the fairway too fast.

Double D laughed at that notion as we walked away. “It’s not even dry yet,” Delsandro told me.

Delsandro checks greens

Dave Delsandro checks greens firmness with his thumbs on Tuesday of the U.S. Open.

On to No. 9 and No. 18 green, where Dave showed me his method of checking green firmness. He pushes both thumbnails into the green in a few key locations, and then he walks and stomps around the rest of the green. Angel Cabrera was putting as Dave trained me on No. 18; Sergio Garcia on No. 9.

Delsandro quizzed me after a few takes. “What do you think of this spot here? Wetter or drier than the spot over there?”

“Drier,” I said, a complete 50/50 shot in the dark. He smiled. “I’d say it’s wetter. I can tell they touched up this spot this morning.”

I’m not quitting my day job, clearly.

Photos: Golfdom

This is posted in Columns, Featured, Industry News

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

Post a Comment