Adverse weather can’t dampen Open enthusiasm

As preparations are made for the final day’s play of The Open Championship 2011, yesterday’s rain and wind have cleared.  Despite the inclement weather of the last 24 hours, the Championship remains fiercely contested and today is certain to see some scintillating competition.

The course at Royal St George’s continues to present the excellent conditions expected of the host venue of golf’s oldest Major.  With greens rolling true and fairway turf tight and firm, the standard of the course pays testament to the months of dedicated preparatory work that has been put in by Course Manager Graham Royden and his team of greenkeepers here at Sandwich.

“The greens were double cut at 3.5 mm on Saturday, having been single cut on Thursday and Friday”, explained Royden.  “This decision was made as it was anticipated that the greens were going to slow down due to the rain and wind which was forecast for yesterday.  The greens are currently running within the window of what The R&A asked for.”

The remarks from the players have further testified to the standard of the golf course; “I’ve not had one complaint during the entire week and the players have actually been seeking me out to comment on the course; I spoke with Tom Watson, who said that the greens were fantastic”, added Royden.  “We are delighted with the condition of the course and how it is playing, despite the rain and wind, and are confident that the test of golf provided is worthy of determining this year’s Champion”, commented Grant Moir, The R&A’s Director of Rules.

Assisting the greenkeepers at Royal St George’s, has been The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) Open Support team.  This 60 strong group of volunteers has been providing practical help and support to the course management team at the host venue of The Open, every year, since the initiative’s inception at St Andrews in 1984.  The volunteers, who are all greenkeeping professionals from both the UK and abroad, have been assisting with bunker preparation and the mowing of putting and chipping greens, throughout the week of the Championship.  The supplementary assistance provided has proved invaluable in helping with the extra pressures placed on the resident staff throughout an Open Championship.