Grabbing a cup of coffee over in the media dining center, I ran into Mike McClellan from Mobile Weather Team. I wanted to see how confident he was in the forecast he posted in the media center just a few hours earlier, which as my last post said, predicted a "good chance" of "strong to severe" storms this afternoon.
"What do you think about this afternoon?" I asked. His response was telling -- a worried look, complete with a furrowed brow. "I don't know," he said. "We missed out yesterday (storms skirted the area most of Saturday afternoon, but it never rained at Baltusrol) but I don't think that will happen today." Dang. And me without any rain gear whatsoever. A GCSAA-logoed rain suit would sure come in handy right now.
A few more notes to start your Sunday:
- If I had to describe the demeanor of Mark Kuhns, Scott Bosetti and the rest of the leaders of Baltusrol's maintenance efforts right now, the best way to do that would be "exhausted, but relaxed." Kuhns spent a great deal of his time Saturday evening chatting with visitors to the GCSAA/GCSANJ hospitality tent, with his family, with well-wishers from the club who made it a point to stop by and compliment Kuhns and his staff on a job well-done. As Kuhns and I rode the course after the end of third-round play, he marveled at the sea of humanity making their way back to the parking lots. "Amazing," was his response on more than one occasion. Bosetti also had the opportunity to relax in the hospitality tent for a short while Saturday and catch a little golf on TV. What all this says to me is that there have been very few unexpected events this week, the fallen branch on the tree near the fourth green being the major exception. They are comfortable with their maintenance routines, comfortable with the condition of the course and comfortable with the scores being posted. Now if they can just get a few extra hours of sleep.
- Kuhns told me that by Friday afternoon, the club had exceeded its budget expectations for revenue in the merchandise tent. That means everything sold over the weekend, including my $46 purchase, is all gravy for the club and the PGA of America.
- Jon Maddern, CGCS at Elk Ridge Golf Club in Atlanta, Mich., and a past president of GCSAA, along with his entire family, stopped by the hospitality tent Saturday. Although there to support his old friend Kuhns, the real reason Maddern was there was to visit son Brad, who is a turfgrass student at Michigan State right now and has been doing an internship at Baltusrol this summer.
- As editor of GCM, it was reassuring to hear Todd Simms (in the photo), the equipment manager at Baltusrol, describe our regular monthly feature "Equipment Basics" as right on target. "From my perspective, superintendents need to have a good, basic understanding of the equipment that is used on the golf course," he said. "And on the flip side, I think technicians need to have a good, basic understanding of agronomy, of the grasses that our equipment is maintaining every day." To that end, Simms puts interns at Baltusrol through a crash course in equipment maintenance, which includes the breaking down and putting back together of a mower reel and a basic course in reel and bedknife grinding.