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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Augusta National

There are very few golfing venues in the world that rival Augusta National Golf Club.  I have been to 7 or 8 Masters and unless you have been on the site, it is impossible to imagine the vastness and elevation changes of the property as well as the serious contours of both the fairways and the greens. 
When the best players in the world are regularly 3 putting and sometimes 4 putting, those are not the conditions that the average would enjoy playing on a daily basis.  

John Morris, our Assistant Superintendent and team member here at NCC, was an Assistant at Augusta National and was involved first hand in numerous Masters events.  
Below are just a few of the "Only At Augusta" items that make the Masters an un-comparable venue to almost any other in the United States and the world.

The green at #12 actually has a heating and cooling system designed into the subsurface of the green. This helps control the turf growth in the winter and summer months.
Each green has a SubAir system install under it.  This device can either push air into the rootzone of the green or extract excessive moisture out of the rootzone of the green.  This feature may cost as much as $ 25-30,000 per green.  It is an excellent way to manage the firmness of the greens.
 Notice the water being sucked out of the green to help dry it out.
Many of the bunkers at Augusta are 8 foot deep or more and expansive in size.  Golfers cannot even see out of the top of the bunkers.
We see the balls roll and roll on television.  This is due to the tremendous fairway contours and elevation changes on the course.  For example, the #10 fairway has a 60 foot elevation drop.  Balls roll downhill.
Not only are there significant elevation changes from tee to green on may holes, there are contours within the fairway cut that assist in ball roll.  #11 Augusta
Many of the green's surrounds are shaved down resulting in balls rolling into water hazards. 
It is an unbelievably difficult golf course to play.
The greens have such tremendous contours and slopes that you cannot imagine unless you have been on the property.   On many of the approach or chip shots, the golfer must hit a spot within a 5 foot circle or the ball will roll totally off the green.  Notice the significant "false front" on the green below.
                                          Notice the surface drainage patterns and contours of this green.  There are numerous contours on each green.  A putt can break 10 feet or more on a 15 foot putt.
Unless it rains, water is with held from the putting surfaces resulting in severely sloped greens that become as hard as pavement by the end of the week.   Putting is similar to rolling a ball on a table top and trying to get it to stop.   Notice the areas of brown and purple wilted turf on the greens in the two photos below.  This is putting the health of the turf at a huge risk.  This "on the edge of turf survival" would not be prudent at a regular golf facility.
      Budget????  No one really knows.  It isn't published.  The Golf Course Operations budget at Augusta is many times in excess of an average private facility, even of an average upper end private facility.   I am talking many millions of dollars.    The average 18 hole facility will have 3-4 fairway units.   Below is the fairway equipment inventory of the Augusta operation.
The normal 18 hole golf facility will have 15 to 20 staff members.  The regular season staff at Augusta ranges from 35 to 120  volunteers during the Masters event. 
Numerous greens and bunkers are rebuilt EVERY YEAR while the course is closed all summer.

Did you realize that the course at Augusta is closed  June 1st through mid October  !!!!!!!!!!  
A number of the greens are actually rebuilt EVERY YEAR.  

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