Scratch Golfer

Scratch Golfer

Mark Wainfor, a PGA qualified pro golfer since 1989, has up to 20 years as a PGA Golf Professional to his name. He’ll share his top golf tips and experiences with you here

A fascinating look at the preparations for the US Masters

Hi everybody! The 2012 US Masters starts this week at the Augusta National Golf Club. Often thought as one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the world, my latest blog looks into the preparation that goes into this prestigious event we see annually on our TV screens.

Picture Perfect

The US Masters is how many golfers expect all courses should look and play like. For the sake of television viewers, divots are filled with green sand and green drink napkins that perfectly match the grass (just in case one is dropped) are cleverly camouflaged on the course. So we ask, is Augusta National an ideal standard for other golf courses or an exception to the rule?

Preparation Is Paramount

A fascinating look at the preparations for the US MastersThe first Masters Tournament was held in March 1934. Since 1940 however, the event is played in April when, the colourful azalea and dogwood blossom is in full bloom. Augusta National is a course where play is extremely restricted, even for members. In fact, it is closed for half the year and the fairways are allowed to turn brown. A month before the tournament starts, the fairways are heavily scarified and over-seeded with rye grass (the rye grass dies a couple of months later).

Just prior to the Masters literally hundreds of golf course superintendents converge on the course to volunteer their services for the week. The trees, flowers and greens are hand watered to prevent any excessive run off; the water hazards are filled with blue colored dye to make them look more attractive.

During the event itself the fairways are cut morning and afternoon with 12 mowers, in a line to avoid striping (like on a football pitch). The semi-rough is cut in the opposite direction, resulting in a dramatic definition in colour between both when seen on TV. The lightning fast greens are triple cut and rolled by the staff each morning and afternoon. Behind the field of play a group volunteers repair divots, pitch marks and remove debris from the fairways and bunkers. The white silica sand bunkers are lovingly raked by hand. In the evening the bunker faces are compacted by wetting and rolling with a roller to prevent misshaping.

Final Thought

A motto from the golf pioneers: “play the ball as it lies”, I wonder how they would see the US Masters today...

What kind of course do you prefer, an Augusta National type course or a Links type? Please share with us on Facebook.

Mark's next blog looks at Ben Hogan in part 3 of his series “The Seven Ages Of The Golf Swing” Until then read about:

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