Roughing It at the PGA Championship
With the golf world watching, Baltusrol relied on their tried-and-true LebanonTurf products
Championship golf courses are designed to punish even the smallest mistakes. Tall, thick rough is a classic way to strike fear into the hearts of even the world’s best golfers.
That’s what Baltusrol wanted to accomplish in preparation for the 2016 PGA Championship last month. Strike fear. With a PGA Championship title on the line, Director of Grounds Mark Kuhns knew he had to bring even more pressure to each tee shot. He and his staff found a solution.
“We wanted to thicken up the rough a little bit,” said Dan Kilpatrick, Superintendent of Baltusrol’s lower course. “LebanonTurf [Country Club M.D.] was a product we used to get the juices flowing in the rough and stand it up and get it going pretty thick. It’s been really successful.”
Upper course superintendent Jim Devaney agreed, adding that it was a focus for them in preparation for the PGA Championship.
“We did utilize [Country Club MD] in the rough to help prepare for the PGA Championship to help get the nice, lush, tall, up-right we’re looking for.”
Mark Kuhns and his team didn’t use LebanonTurf products just to help get the course in national-TV shape. It’s a part of their year-round efforts, and has been for a while.
“We’ve used Country Club M.D. products for years,” Kuhns said. “Anytime we seed, we use the Lebanon starter fertilizer with pre-emergent products.”
Kilpatrick added, “We use their starters in the spring, in the summer aerification and the winter aerification, as well. It’s a go-to product for us.”
Baltusrol has built a legacy on their course layout and pristine conditions, having hosted two PGA Championships and seven U.S. Opens, dating all the way back to the 1903 U.S. Open. To create a championship experience that’s challenging but fair, the crew’s efforts have to be precise and repeatable.
The grounds crew has relied on LebanonTurf products (specifically Country Club M.D.) because they know what they’re getting.
“We get quality, even release out of the product,” said Devaney. “It’s consistent. It’s reliable.”
Kuhns also makes a point of mentioning the safety and quality of LebanonTurf products.
“It’s very safe, safe for the environment, easy to apply, a very clean product. And also the quality is unbelievable.”
Jimmy Walker reigned supreme at the end of the tournament, finishing with a 14-under score of 266. Though his score is impressive, it’s the lowest under-par score in a PGA Championship in 3 years. So, in the end, Baltusrol held tough.