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A week at the Links...


Patrick Andrews

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This week I am taking you on a journey to Te Arai Links... the newly opened south course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and the currently under-construction north course, designed by Tom Doak. Brian Palmer (superintendent at Tara Iti) set up an intern swap with CJ Kreuscher, Director of Agronomy for Te Arai Links, where I went to Te Arai, and Austin Eggers, previously from Sand Hills, came to Tara Iti for a week. 

Similar to Tara Iti, both courses at Te Arai are next to the ocean, and you must travel down a gravel road to get to them. Both courses are fine fescue greens, tees, fairways, and surround. The main difference between Tara Iti and the Links courses is that the Links is nestled between the trees and the coastline while Tara Iti plays in the open. 

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Great view of South course, above. Below, from 2 green uphill to 3 green South course.

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The South course opened in September 2022. Sixteen of its holes have an ocean view, and eight are next to the ocean. Of the 18 holes, my favorite hole is number two because it is settled in the woods, making you feel like you are on a different course. After number two, you tee uphill on three, where you get a fantastic view of the ocean and four other holes. I ended up spending two of the five days on the south course. I cut greens on the first day, and on the second day, I watered the greens.

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Views are everywhere, even on hole 6 cart path.

The North course is still under construction and will likely open in October 2023. I visited the north course when I arrived three months ago just to walk with the course with superintendent Nick O' Brien. After three months and working for three of the five days, it is impressive to see how quickly CJ and Nick could get the greens into a playable condition. On the days I worked, I aerified the greens with Planet Air, rolled/brushed surrounds using a Salsco roller, and watered newly placed Bermuda paths that lead from the tees to the fairway. 

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Using the Planet Air on 14 green on the North Course.

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My favorite hole on North Course, #6. Irrigation at work there, below.

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For both Links courses, irrigation is pulled from two reservoirs. The largest is 58 million gallons. The pumps put out 900 gallons a minute. The course has around 3,000 heads. 

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Irrigation room for both courses. Below, the smaller reservoir.

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My experience at the Links was amazing, and I would like to thank the Te Arai team for allowing me to work with them for the week. I would also like to thank CJ for taking time out of his week to teach me about his course construction projects and the things to look forward to in the future, and Brian for setting up this opportunity.

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Wow, that sort of an exchange within and exchange is awesome Patrick. You are so fortunate to have such great People like Brian and CJ supporting you in this experience. 

 

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