A combination of the threat of Tropical Storm Andrea and the impending U.S. Open is causing the USGA to take precautions at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Merion Golf Club superintendent Arron McCurdy tells GCM that his crew has been preparing two holes on Merion's West Course ... No.s 4 and 5 ... in case the par-4 11th and 12th holes are damaged by floods on the East course, which is the location for the 113th U.S. Open that begins one week from today. McCurdy confirmed that the USGA has asked Matt Shaffer, Merion's director of golf course management, to make those two holes on the West Course ready in a worst-case scenario. The storm is supposed to impact that part of the country through this weekend.
"I'm not really concerned at this point," says McCurdy, a 4-year member of GCSAA."They're calling for about 2 inches (of rain tonight and tomorrow). We already have missed a huge band of rain, so that was good."
The famed 11th hole on the East Course is in a flood zone, so this is no surprise that it is at risk, McCurdy says. No. 11, where legend Bobby Jones finished off the 1930 U.S. Amateur to complete the Grand Slam, "has been flooded 50 times since then," Shaffer told GCM earlier this spring.
McCurdy says the main issue when No. 11 floods is heavy silt. If that, or anything else troubling occurs, McCurdy and Shaffer know somebody's got their backs.
"We got calls from some of the other courses around here, telling us they'd send their whole crews over to help get us ready," he says.
This will be the fifth U.S. Open at the East Course, but the first since 1981.