Tuesday marked the first full-day of golf course management activities at Medinah CC's Course No. 3 in advance of this week's 2012 Ryder Cup competition.
To be fair, director of golf course operations Curtis Tyrrell, CGCS, MG, and his full-time staff at the 54-hole facility in the northwest suburbs of Chicago have been fretting about this week for several years now. But with the start of play now just two days away, yesterday was the first time that full-time staff combined with the more than 100 volunteers to take to the course and ready it for the 24 players who make up the U.S. and Eurpoean teams for this year's event.
Jim Wallace, the superintendent of Course No. 1 and a six-year GCSAA member, has graciously agreed to serve as our guest blogger for the week and provide us with daily updates from inside the grounds team at Medinah. What follows is his first report on what took place during Tuesday's work:
5 a.m. — Morning managers meeting ... same meeting we have had all year, but certainly a different feel today. Everyone is full of excitement and emotion. This is the culmination of something we have been preparing for over the past four years. I will say one thing — there is nobody I would rather do something like this with than Curtis Tyrrell. His leadership through this process has made us all better people and better golf course superintendents, and I think I speak for most of our team when I say that we are all here working at Medinah not for the experience of the Ryder Cup, but to work with him and learn from him.
We ran through the plan for this morning and made sure everyone was clear on all instructions, then separated out to our various areas of responsibility and got ready to exit the grounds facility and head to the golf course.
5:40 a.m. — We arrived on the course and signed off that each team was in thier correct starting postion. Everything went smooth with our first day integrating the volunteers into the process, thanks largely to our support team of the Tyrrell family and Carrie Kirchway doing an excellent job getting the volunteers the information they needed to be in the right place at the right time.
It was still dark when we got out there, so we had everyone hold position and be ready to go as soon as conditions got light enough to start cutting and prepping.
6:12 a.m. — The first teams have been cleared to start cutting and things are looking sharp out here. Our shop staff is out checking mowers for cut quality, we are evaluating moisture levels, all operations are beginning to roll and the chatter level on the radio is high.
6:26 a.m. — All teams have been cleared with enough light to start cutting, and the engine that is the Medinah grounds team is running along smooth as ever.
9:05 a.m. — Completing last hole and bringing the teams back to the shop. Really happy with what I saw out there, a well-oiled machine with some supplemental help from our well-qualified volunteer staff. The golf course is right where we want it!
10:30 a.m. — Mid-day practice run, a lesson in moving through large crowds. The Ryder Cup is extremely unique in that during the first two days of the event, we will need to get out there between rounds to re-prep the golf course and we'll be moving through the course amongst the crowds. We went out today to get aquainted with our routes and decide on the best transport routes for our teams; we certainly came away with some good notes and things to adjust going into tomorrow.
4 p.m. — Evening run: Metal spikes is something we haven't seen in a while, but everything held up great today ... what beatiful weather! We got some great feedback from the players today and we are already hearing some roars from the crowd out there. Our staff combined with our volunteers did an amazing job today, many thanks to our team as well as all of those who have taken time from thier lives to come and help us put on this amazing event. We are off to a good start!