Headline: The U.S. Open Championship Was Great to Watch on TV, But Golfers Shouldn't Wish For Those Same Conditions at Their Home Course. Find Out Why.

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2016

The average golfer may like to experience U.S. Open conditions, but a steady diet of very fast, firm greens and thick, tall rough will not be enjoyable for most players and could lead to turfgrass decline.

Norton, MA — Golfers from across the world watched in awe as the top players in the world battled through what was a beautiful but extremely challenging layout and course set up at Oakmont Country Club (PA) during 2016 U.S. Open Championship.

From the comfort of one’s couch or even for those who were fortunate enough to see the action live in Pennsylvania, it was clear that the conditions were optimal and some even labeled them “perfect”.


Understanding Oakmont Conditions:


However, while it makes for great television viewing, it is important to realize that the resources required to prepare a golf course for a U.S Open Championship makes maintaining U.S. Open Championship-level conditioning on a daily basis out of reach for most courses.

The best golfers in the world are challenged by U.S. Open Championship conditions and, while the average golfer may like to experience these conditions, a steady diet of very fast, firm greens and thick, tall rough will not be enjoyable for most players and could lead to turfgrass decline.

In a recent article published by Jim Skorulski, the USGA’s Northeast agronomist who works closely with many Massachusetts courses, he explained the process of obtaining green conditions like those faced at Oakmont.

“It is the very fine-textured and dense strains of annual bluegrass that have evolved under a rigorous and careful maintenance programs,” said Skorulski. “Those wishing to emulate the conditions at Oakmont must realize that it requires a long, and sometimes painful, process along with ideal growing conditions, investments in infrastructure and a talented and committed management team.”

Here are some other interesting facts about the massive preparation on the #RoadtoOakmont.

  • The approximately 40-person golf course maintenance staff at Oakmont Country Club was supplemented by more than 100 volunteers during the U.S. Open Championship. That equates to seven workers per hole with an additional 14 people available to tend to practice facilities and other areas.
  • Preparation for the U.S. Open Championship began several years in advance of the event. Often, the frequency of aeration and topdressing is dramatically increased one to two years before hosting a U.S. Open Championship.
  • Extra aeration and topdressing provides the best opportunity to present firm, fast conditions and promotes healthy turf. In the last two growing seasons, the putting greens at Oakmont CC were double drilled-and-filled four times, core aerated five times, deep verticut five times and deep-tine aerated four times.
  • The aeration programs implemented at Oakmont Country Club are very aggressive and represent a significant disruption to playability that most golfers would not tolerate.
  • To maintain green speeds for the U.S. Open Championship, putting greens were mowed four times and rolled twice daily.
  • During the week following the U.S. Open Championship, putting greens are vented or aerated to alleviate stress. In many cases, the course must be closed to play for several days providing an opportunity for the grass to recover from the previous week’s activity.

The moral of the story: enjoy the U.S. Open Championship and applaud the staff and volunteers but don't wish for those same conditions at your home course.

Some things are better left seen but not played!