Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    86
  • comments
    30
  • views
    328,981

TPC Sawgrass Players Championship Volunteer

Peter Braun

5,332 views

Being called the 5th major tournament is one thing, but to play and look like one is much harder. TPC Sawgrass Stadium course was very well conditioned making for a fantastic finish. from eventual winner Ricky Fowler. The volunteer program at TPC Sawgrass is only 5 years old, but is so well run that Superintendents come from all over the world to be part of the amazing agronomy team for the tournament. 

 

92c3f0b71979806d9eaa1198047a26a4-.jpg

 

For the tournament over 70 volunteers came to help from places as close as Georgia and South Carolina to places further away such as the UK and Ireland, Argentina, Canada, and even South Africa. That is a testament to the quality of the program put on by TPC Sawgrass Agronomy. Everything was very well organized. The volunteers stayed at a nearby college and had shuttles running back and forth.

 

https://vimeo.com/126804546

 

The days started and finished in darkness, but no one seemed to care. Everyone arrived to the volunteer tent by 4:30AM to have a team meeting at 4:45AM. By 5:00AM everyone was out the door and one their way to making the course look its best. The crew was split into four groups: Front 9, Back 9, Practice Facility, and Landscape. I was on the Back 9 team raking bunkers in the morning and rotary mowing green surrounds at night. PM jobs were started based upon play so any where from 5PM to 6PM.

 

f11bd5dad193e45572cb1281b45f6467-.jpg

 

a97e3ed98dc069f0f208c19b713652b6-.jpg

 

Being a PGA tournament and one of the best agronomically on tour everything is done with attention to detail. Being on bunkers I did not know how much went in to raking a perfect bunker. Using a double leaf rake the bunker has to have no blemishes, so no clumps, ripples, or curved lines. To walk a straight line is much harder than you would think but we all picked it up pretty fast. If the angle of the rake is off or the line curves then the bunker needs to be done over so we watched for any problems and fixed them before the bunker was finished. 

 

b82dee5f5b215d2ac114424d8400f460-.jpg

 

9a6a9a254c721c1066eecca058991577-.jpg

 

bc9f1a0c4c4787ce83d738b907bf977a-.jpg

 

A quick over view of went on each day for maintenance. Greens were double cut in the morning and back track mowed at night. Two pairs of mowers went out on each 9 so the greens could be cut in time. Greens were then rolled, sometimes double rolled or just a single roll. A few afternoons two rollers went out before greens mowers as well as after. Fairways were cut morning and night by four guys on each 9. Approaches were single mowed in both the morning and night by two guys on each 9. Tees were cut once in the morning by two guys on each 9. Everything but greens were burnt in. So 18 people were used to cut and roll the course in each day. The practice facility did the same but with less people. On bunkers and rotary mow usually there were 8-10 guys working. Various other jobs were done like watering, cup cutting, moisture meter, and stimp meter. 

 

68b92b8590c0a43293cf41bcf59a5b05-.jpg

 

788206bc4517c698b5f2e4711adfc2f8-.jpg

 

From Monday to Sunday the middle of the day was free to do what every you wanted. Some guys went back to sleep, while others stayed and watched golf. Just before dinner there were some talks from leaders in the industry. One talk was on calibration, one on turf apps, and another on chemicals/diseases. While there was some pressure to get everything perfect we did have time for fun. This made the event much more enjoyable. Check out this dance video put together by Turf Republic and fellow crew member Cole.

 

 

Turf Republic was brought in to capture the work that goes into the tournament on film. Bill Brown and Sam Bauer did a fantastic job. The videos in this blog were created by them. I thank them for doing such a wonderful job to capture the best Players Championship ever. Check out Turf Republic website for more videos or their youtube page. Coverage of the tournament and for a great turf blog (one of my favorites) go to TPC Sawgrass Agronomy's blog

 

9199fd87a5fa0cc31cba6ede5894eb76-.jpg

 

https://vimeo.com/127392281

 

c9d86db2879b2c6334f93b085b28898e-.jpg

Ian Poulter (yellow) Thanks the Agronomy Team

 

860a50fc6da00fbd338da2a535a86df5-.jpg

2 Guys from South Africa

 

The volunteer program at TPC Sawgrass is world renown. By working my third tournament of the year I had a little clue of what to expect but the agronomy team surpassed my expectations. I really enjoyed meeting new friend from all over the world, talking turf with everyone, and just having fun. Even though I was a volunteer I did work so some may say it was not really a holiday, but for turf people this is the pinnacle of maintenance. For a comparison I think for volunteering at TPC Sawgrass like the week at a county fair for farm people. Hours are long if not longer than normal, but it is so fun to do that people keep coming back. I was really surprised to see Sean Charles, one of my classmates from SUNY Cobleskill, volunteering. That was a nice surprise. 

 

5a82948345809e6e3359a749995badfb-.jpg

 

e31124628048662a61564712e0de7873-.jpg

 

Another really fun part to volunteering is playing the famous 17th hole on Monday morning. I put two balls in the water, but was glad to see some guys actually hit the green and get very close to the Sunday pin. 

 

1a928a19382388f82f4fa81cac3631a3-.jpg

 

I want to thank all of the TPC Sawgrass agronomy team for putting on a great performance to bring the best conditioned golf course to the best players in the world. Without course Superintendent Clay Breazeale or Agronomy Director Tom Vlach having a vision for the best volunteer program five years ago this could not be possible. All the staff at TPC was kind and welcoming. I had only the best interactions and everyone was professional. This was a great finish to a year long global journey in turf. I could not have asked for a better finish. From the volunteer program to the playoff on Sunday I was in turf heaven. 

 

3a5c59e825c03a1af1c4dca5a5dded40-.jpg

 

8ba4e374b9ca569230a682e48792dde3-.jpg

 

This will conclude my blog for TurfNet. Later this week I head to Chaska, Minnesota to work at Hazeltine National Golf Club. I appreciate everything that TurfNet and Jon Kiger did for me to help get me to where I am today as well as Mike O'Keeffe and The Ohio Program. I encourage everyone to come back and follow two new student bloggers this summer on TurfNet. 

 

6537f37384e6407c3de8395c24e0a462-.jpg

 

87c4f1cd24155934ba5eb1859201d68b-.jpg

 

8cca5175727e82be6a2bc9809c6c52fb-.jpg

 

f7e36cb810e14e9f112c2a69aa983ff6-.jpg

 

eaa476ed16f0d0f7ed222dda79535cf4-.jpg



1 Comment


Recommended Comments

Guest Ben Heslip

Posted

Great read Pete..was a pleasure to meet and work with you and the volunteers this past week at TPC Sawgrass!

Share this comment


Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...