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Sunday: Final Round Preparations and Cheerios

With a single tee start at 7:50 AM our last reporting time was again 5 AM. Bernard captured the final day rollout of equipment and personnel. After seeing/filming these for many years I was finally included in one! Rain was forecast for later in the day and started briefly for about an hour during our Sunday duties.       The leaders after three rounds were Daniel Im from the USA and Jon Rahm from Spain. They were set to tee off with the final tee time at 1:10 PM. This meant the tournament

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Saturday: A later reporting time and a single tee start.

There was some drama in determining the cut at the end of Friday's second round. The drama belonged to England's Nathan Kimsey who birdied the Par 4 18th hole with a very long putt as part of his second round. By carding a combined 140 instead of a 141 over the two rounds he effectively knocked out 15 other players who came in at 141. We all imagined that he wasn't very popular around the Players Lounge Friday evening.   With the field reduced to 65 for Saturday and Sunday, play would be only

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Friday Brings Another Two-Tee Start and a Great Interview

Friday was another early morning 4 AM arrival at the course and a quick rollout to stay ahead of play. The players would be out for another two-tee start (1 and 10) at 7:50 AM and we not only had to be ahead of play on those first tees but well out of the way of those first few tee boxes on each nine.   Several teams of the crew can be seen in this early morning photo on Friday. The River Bamm borders the clubs Riverside Course which was used for infrastructure.   My specific duties in the

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Double Tee Start as the Competition Starts – Plus a Visit to Royal Portrush Golf Club

Thursday we had our usual 4 AM breakfast followed by a 5 AM start time. The pros had a split tee start off 1 and 10 at 7:50 so we all knew we had to get out ahead of play. You can tell that everyone knows their way around the maintenance facility and the course as the staging area was clear much sooner than early in the week.   Dew whips made in-house and carried by each greensmower operator. Flymoing tee banks.   It was another great morning weather-wise so we all made good time around

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

The Hemphills: Four generations of greenkeepers at Portstewart

With the average tenure of a US golf course superintendent at one course is between four and five years it's hard to imagine one family being employed by an individual club for four generations over 100 years, but that's exactly the case with the Hemphill family and Portstewart Golf Club. Jonathan "Jonny" Hemphill is currently a greenkeeper on Bernard Findlay's staff and his family has a rich history of service to the club.   In this audio interview we visit with Jonny's father Robert Hemphill

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Wednesday at Portstewart: Mist and midges...

Wednesday was the Irish Open Pro-Am, a two-tee start with the first group out at 7:30 AM. Everyone on the greenkeeping staff received their assignments the night before and after a short continental breakfast we headed out on the course with the goal to be out ahead of the first groups.   No flat-screen job board here!   There was an amazing fog and mist over the course, which provided both navigational hazards and incredible photo opportunities. The back nine of the course winds down by t

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Tuesday: Time to break out the "waterproofs"!

As anticipated, rain arrived in the area Monday night around 11 PM and continued well into Tuesday morning. It started as a steady rain and increased as the morning continued.  Our 4:00 AM work session included everyone suiting up in "waterproofs" -- the local vernacular for rain gear. David Escobedo had to purchase a set since there is so little rainfall in Phoenix.   Wet conditions in the morning.   Tuesday morning briefing.   Most tasks (mowing, bunkers, tidying up, etc. ) went on a

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Podcast with Eugene Hennessy, European Tour consultant, about preparations at Portstewart

The European Tour has five staff agronomists to cover events for their Pro Tour, Challenge Tour and Senior. Tour. Given the far flung venues for these events, they cover a much larger geographic area than their American counterparts. Jon Kiger caught up with Eugene Hennessy, the greenkeeping consultant assigned to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. In the following podcast they discuss Eugene's pre-tournament course visits and his role at the event this week. A spring that started out mild in Irel

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Monday: GO TIME!

Sunday was basically a dry run -- a chance to 'find our feet' as they say over here. Monday morning represented our first day of reporting at 4:15 for 'first breakfast' -- a continental breakfast with tea and coffee.   The goal each day is to have everyone done with breakfast and out on the course by 5:00 AM. Since the Pro-Am was still two days away and many players were still on the road from the weekend events, there were just a few golfers on the course. This meant our work could go on with

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Finally on the road to... and arrival at Portstewart!

Friday and Saturday included a few more leisure/tourist activities (primarily for David Escobedo's benefit as he must return to Arizona immediately following the tournament) so when Sunday morning arrived we knew it was game time.   David's first Guinness on Friday had to be memorialized for posterity's sake!   Saturday night we stayed in the border town of Dundalk in County Louth. TurfNet members will remember Dundalk from our 2015 Members Trip to Ireland. Dundalk is about an hour north o

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

A visit with the president of GCSAI at Galway Bay, and a stop at the Cliffs of Moher

After our visit at Lahinch Golf Club on Thursday, we drove about five miles north to the famous Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs vary from 400 to 700 feet and are located in the most southwestern part of the Burren region of County Clare. Over one million visitors per year walk along the cliffs and view O'Brien's Castle. The Cliffs of Moher are also accessible by ferry from the nearby village of Doolin.   The Cliffs of Moher with O'Brien's Castle at the top.   We drove a very scenic route north

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Prelude to Portstewart: First stop, Lahinch...

I'm a firm believer in getting to your overseas destination a little early. In addition to being able to adjust to the time zone, I planned to show David Escobedo a little of Ireland before we were stationed for the week in Portstewart.    This past Wednesday afternoon David and I met at New York's JFK Airport for our 10:45 PM overnight flight to Shannon. The flight was just over 5 1/2 hours which left little time for sleep once we were settled in... plus David had already had a 5-hour flight

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

The Crew: Meet David Escobedo...

What is your background/current position/organization?   "I have over 35 years experience working in golf course maintenance. I am currently the head golf course superintendent at a 36-hole facility named Westbrook Village Golf Club in Peoria, Arizona."   Have you had any previous International travel experience?       "I do not have any international travel experience so this will be a new experience for me. Jon Kiger and I have a few days to explore other parts of Ireland before we report

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

The Crew: Meet Marty Richardson...

What is your background/current position/organization? "Currently I am working at The Island Golf Club in Donabate, Ireland as an intern for the summer. I have been working at this course since early May and have been working in the industry since 2013."   Have you had any previous international travel? If so, where? "I've been to Canada, so this is actually my first trip outside North America. I am enjoying it very much."   What is your previous tournament experience? "My first four year

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

The Crew: Meet Dana Chase...

What is your background/current position/organization? "Longtime equipment manager in Massachusetts. Currently at Glen Ellen Country Club In Millis, MA."   Have you had any previous International travel and if so, where? "I've been fortunate to travel extensively internationally."   What is your previous tournament experience? "2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales, 2016 Irish Open at the K Club"   Role in Ireland "I will help the existing technician at Portstewart Golf Club to maint

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

The Crew: Meet Jon Kiger...

What is your background/current position/organization? "Director of Media and Membership at TurfNet. I sell our advertising and sponsorships, look for ways to grow membership, help produce some of our video, blog, and podcast content, and organize our annual Members Trips... along with a bunch of other stuff as it comes up."   Have you had any previous International travel and if so, where? "I've been fortunate to travel extensively to South America (mostly Brazil where I have family) and Eu

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Volunteering at the 2017 Irish Open... again!

Welcome to TurfNet on Tour, the blog showcasing our US-based team of volunteers at the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club on the coast of Northern Ireland. Four representatives from TurfNet will represent 10% of the volunteer maintenance force for this European Tour Rolex Series event.   This year the tournament was moved from May to July and that presented a challenge to host superintendent Bernard Findlay. Just as in the States, greenkeepers here are needed at their res

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

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