The next time a group of golfers ask why the playing conditions at their home course don't resemble those they see on TV every week, remind them what it is involved in readying a course for just one week in the spotlight. TPC Sawgrass, home of the upcoming Players Championship, is as good an example as any.
Director of golf course maintenance Jeff Plotts, superintendent Clay Breazeale and their agronomy team spend more than half the year prepping the Stadium Course for the annual fifth major that is scheduled for May 9-15 at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
The Sawgrass agronomy team begins constructing and installing tournament infrastructure around the holidays.
Once the tournament begins, it requires the help of a small army, or least a battalion of volunteers to pull off the tournament, and Breazeale begins accepting volunteer applications in November. Suffice to say, prepping for and hosting the annual tournament, followed by deconstruction takes well over six months.
A total of 90 volunteers from 18 states and 14 countries will help with this year's fifth major. The application process begins in November and installation of tournament infrastructure begins shortly thereafter for the agronomy team at Sawgrass.
Volunteers will report to the property the Saturday before the tournament begins for a practice run through their tournament prep routine to make sure everyone is on the same page and to address any contingencies.
That's why the Stadium Course looks the way it does for the Players and why other courses don't look the same the rest of the year.