Every year we see Augusta National, it looks better than the year before. So, that begs the question: How do they do it? Mike Bailey from Golf Advisor tells us how they are able to perfectly manicure the course each and every year.
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1. No summertime golf at Augusta National
On TV we see Augusta National in all its glory with the azaleas in bloom, the fairways and greens perfect and the weather conducive for growing cool-season grasses. In the summer, that doesn’t work so well, so the course is closed, and it doesn’t have to endure the stress of hot weather with people taking divots and making ball marks on its perfect greens.
2. What’s wrong with firm and fast?
It takes a lot of water to make a course as green as Augusta National, which has an incredible irrigation and drainage system that keeps it from getting soggy.
3. Without a lot of play, great conditions are easier to maintain
Though Augusta National isn’t in the habit of disclosing how many rounds they get (ANGC staff isn’t even available to comment for articles), you can bet it’s less than your club, unless you’re a one-percenter. Much less. There are days where Augusta might get two or three groups, and that’s not abnormal. Without much play, it’s much easier to give a golf course some serious TLC.
4. Perfect conditions and affordable green fees don’t go together
It takes pretty much an unlimited budget to produce perfect conditions, and the members at Augusta not only have deep pockets, but they get a boatload of TV money, too.
5. Greens Stimped at 13 and above would slow down play
If you want really fast smooth greens, think about the average golfer. Inducing three- and four-putts all over the place — especially on weekends — would grind play to a halt. Who wants that?
6. Augusta National isn’t natural
Not to imply that the folks at ANGC are doing anything harmful to the environment, but you don’t get conditions like that without spending a lot of money on pesticides, herbicides, wetting agents and the like. So if you’re the type who likes your golf course as natural as possible, you can forget it looking like the one on Magnolia Lane.
7. No carts are allowed at Augusta National — ever
Forget the 90-degree rule, this is an all-walking, caddie course that is not going to be ruined by those pesky golf carts driving all over its pristine fairways. (Ironically, Club Car is headquartered in Augusta, Ga.) So, right there, Augusta National gets a lot less wear and tear than your home course.
8. Augusta attracts the very best young talent, too
What budding superintendent or tech wouldn’t want to work at Augusta National? Every year, the club gets flooded with resumes from all over the country and from the very best turgrass schools.
9. Augusta also gets the best volunteers during Masters Week
When you see that army of mowers sweeping the fairways after play each day, those aren’t members of Augusta’s regular maintenance staff; many of those guys and gals are superintendents at some pretty high-profile courses around the world, doing specific tasks normally associated with regular crew members. In fact, just go ahead and multiply the crew by 10 during tournament week and imagine most of those guys with mowers and blowers having turfgrass degrees. That’s Augusta National.
10. Good help is hard to find, but not for Augusta National
Augusta National gets the very best people to mow greens, blow leaves, rake bunkers and put out fresh pine needles. “If you were to ask a majority of superintendents today labor is becoming more and more a challenge,” Bauer says. “Today’s worker is getting harder to find and motivate.”