USGA Executive Director Mike Davis goes more in-depth about Pinehurst No. 2 setup for the back-to-back U.S. Opens
By LEE PACE
It was at the USGA’s annual meeting held at Pinehurst in February 2010 that incoming USGA President Jim Hyler spoke of the association’s initiative to promote more natural looking golf courses, groomed with less water and chemicals and fewer man-hours.
“Our definition of playability should include the concepts of firm, fast and yes, even brown, and allow the running game to flourish,” Hyler said. “We need to understand how brown can become the new green.”
“You just hope around the world, people will look at this golf course and say, ‘It doesn’t have to be lush and green.’” -Mike Davis
Four years later, the USGA is on the cusp of staging back-to-back U.S. Opens on a Pinehurst No. 2 course that will perfectly illustrate those concepts. The 1907 Donald Ross-designed course was restored from 2010-11 by architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and the removal of some 35 acres of Bermuda rough and 700 sprinkler heads has resulted in a course more representative of a mid-1900s course than a modern one groomed to perfection with water, fertilizer and staff labor.
Mike Davis, USGA executive director speaks at the USGA news conference during the 2014 Annual Meeting at the Pinehurst Resort in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)
“It’s a throwback to the old days and the idea of ‘maintenance up the middle,’” Executive Director Mike Davis said Saturday at the USGA’s annual meeting, back again in Pinehurst. “This is a major focus of our Green Section. Maintain the middle of the golf course and spend less time and money on irrigation, fertilizer and fungicides in the roughs. Go back to the way golf used to be played. You use less resources and you reduce the cost.
“You just hope around the world, people will look at this golf course and say, ‘It doesn’t have to be lush and green.’ Maintenance up the middle is a great message for the game.”
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