What a difference a day makes at Merion Golf Club.
The rain has stopped, so little wonder that optimism reigns supreme for director of golf course management Matt Shaffer and superintendent Arron McCurdy as their crew tackled the East Course today in Ardmore, Pa., in preparation for the 113th U.S. Open that starts next week.
About 3.5 inches of rain pounded the East Course yesterday. At the time it looked bleak, for fear of flooding was a real possibility. It was such a concern that the USGA had Shaffer prepare two holes on Merion Golf Club's West Course, No.s 4 and 5, to be on emergency alert in case the 11th and 12th holes were unplayable for the championship.
A break in the weather has calmed those fears. McCurdy sure sounded way more upbeat than he did 24 hours ago.
"This place dries up pretty quick," he tells GCM. "I knew it would."
"It (water) never went over the top of the green," says McCurdy, a 4-year GCSAA member, who on Friday noted that the water came within 6 inches of the top of the famed 11 green where legend Bobby Jones capped off his U.S. Amateur triumph in 1930, securing the Grand Slam. "We did creek bank work earlier this year at 11, and it looks like it might have helped us."
Except for a few greenside bunkers that were washed out, McCurdy says there were no other major issues. It didn't hurt that more rain missed the East Course today "by a hair," McCurdy says. Late this afternoon, they were mowing the greens. Earlier, they mowed fairways and tees.
McCurdy also mentioned that the Merion Golf Club assistant golf professional who was struck on the head Friday by a falling branch on the 12th hole had a CT scan, but is going to be OK.
So, yes, thinks are brightening up, literally, on many fronts at Merion. Although there is a chance for a few showers Sunday, McCurdy isn't letting it ruin his current disposition.
"Yes, sir, we're getting cleaned up. We're ready," he says.