Friday, July 31, 2009

2009 Derby

It seems hard to believe, but the 59th Run for the Rose’s is now in the history books. The record wet weather earlier this year thankfully gave way to nice, dry conditions these past few weeks and remained very pleasant for our main event.

Sunshine & dry was our "gift" of the week...
...helping provide the theme of the week - firm and fast conditions, as the photo below might suggest.

We always look forward to this tournament, as it is one of few times during the year when we pull out all the stops and try our very best to bring you the best and most memorable play conditions of the year. We heard many favorable comments regarding the condition of the course, and we believe we met our goal. It could not have happened without the dedication, commitment, and plain hard work of Scott, Steve, Jacob, Shaun, Gus, Ed, and the entire Grounds & Greens Staff. They all deserve thanks for their many long days in preparation for the Derby.

Our "Maintenance Shotgun" heading out for Friday night's course preparations once the south end of the course was free of players.

The mild and dry weather prior to and during this year’s Derby was a real treat compared to the warm and wet conditions of the last few years. This, as well as our ability to now control irrigation more precisely, provided us the opportunity to mow more frequently, roll everyday, and limit irrigation inputs, such that very firm and fast conditions were possible.

Everyone would probably agree that the green speeds were plenty fast (12.5+), smooth and true, and the hole locations made things interesting and very challenging. We didn’t take any readings of the fairway speeds, but we saw many shots bouncing and rolling good distances. In some cases players ended up in places they hadn’t been before. Good shots were rewarded with less club needed to hit the green, whereas wayward shots often ended up in bunkers or in the longer, now irrigated, rough.

Scott frequently recorded stimpmeter readings to ensure speeds were Derby worthy.

Jacob methodically checked angles, undulations, and positions to provide as fair and challenging hole locations as possible.

We tested a few new strategies this year with next year’s Western Amateur Championship in mind. Mowing heights, frequency, and patterns in all turf areas, greens rolling, and even fairway rolling, were a few such items. Additionally, the prior week’s (and several weeks earlier) topdressing, nutrient levels, pest management, growth regulation, and irrigation, were all manipulated to “peak” just in time for the Derby. We learned much and we will use these same strategies and others again next year for both the Derby and the Western Amateur Tournament.

14 straight days of greens rolling was a key factor to achieving fast speeds, smooth surfaces, and most importantly, true ball roll.

Though not a common practice, rolling fairways brings new dynamics to the game - more interesting ball bounce, longer distances, and the introduction of more hazards to stray shots.

Congratulations are certainly in order for this year’s Derby Champions, Jaime Pfaff and Rob Schoder. The course was very challenging and the fine play (and low scores) from the Women’s Member-Member Champions, Carrie Coquillette and Linda Campbell, may have had a little something to do with the difficulty of the hole locations each day!

2009 Men's Derby Champions Jaime Pfaff and Rob Schoder, with Derby Chairman Richard Knier

Thinking ahead to next year’s Derby, now may be an appropriate time to mention that with the Western Amateur to be held only a week after, and our desire to sufficiently challenge these accomplished players, we're guessing the rough will likely be a bit more dense and longer than this year. Growing rough in the middle of summer mainly requires fertilizer, water, reduced mowing and traffic control, but also a few weeks time. Derby participants will be able to witness, first hand, some of this “sufficiently challenging” rough. Do we hear “Single Digit Derby Winners”? Perhaps 2010 is the year!

Good luck next year!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks guys, great post and wonderful conditions for the Derby. Of course I would say that....but the speed of the course, plus the healthy thickness of the rough were great. Plus the wind on day 2 was a big factor in higher scores.

    Jamie Pfaff


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