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Grayhawk Golf Club is holding up as NCAA Championship venue, but it can get more difficult


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There have been so many questions main into the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship. Questions which have been lingering since it was first introduced the championship was coming to Grayhawk Golf Club.

The one which was normally requested first, and definitely essentially the most, was: Could it check one of the best gamers in school golf?

With solely two groups and 11 gamers within the purple, one might say the golf course is doing its half.

When you consider main championship-style golf programs, enjoying within the desert is not one thing that involves thoughts. In reality, the NCAA has solely performed the finals as soon as within the state of Arizona. That got here in 1971 at Tucson National Golf Club with Texas successful the staff title and Ben Crenshaw claiming particular person honors.

Knowing they wanted to stretch the Raptor course’s structure a bit more, the employees sat down a few years in the past and checked out aerial images to see what might be carried out.

Grayhawk was constructed 26 years in the past and the angles and features are a lot totally different in the present day in comparison with then.

“We started taking measurements from existing tee boxes and where the angle points of those tee boxes are and we decided how we could add some tee boxes,” mentioned Grayhawk course superintendent Ernie Pock.

In all, a complete of 9 tee packing containers have been added or re-configured. That computed to shut to 200 further yards to get it near the specified 7,300 yards. The structure is additionally a par 70 with simply two par 5s.

Pock and Grayhawk employees seemed on the bunkers and the place they may manipulate and stretch them. They additionally tightened up the grass strains and mowing patterns.

Also, the tough has caught some gamers off guard.

“Here in the desert, this time of year we normally we have no rough,” mentioned Pock. “So, we had to start looking at changing that and getting it ready for tournament conditions. I wanted to have everything in place by April 1, so that we can start working on growing density of rough and stuff. And we nailed it.”

Pepperdine head coach Michael Beard additionally talked about how hitting within the fairway is possibly more essential this week than individuals anticipated when coming to a desert course.

“I think the course is great. Didn’t expect the rough to be like this, you actually have to think about it off the tee. You have to make sure you are thinking about being in the fairway. If you are in the rough and maybe with greens being a little firm and a little downwind it can make it hard to hold,” mentioned Beard.

Beard added one more reason for scores not being what many thought was the change to a par 70.

“Only have two par 5s is a big reason why the scores aren’t as low – these college kids just rip up par 5s. and then if you hit one or two in the desert and I think that is leveling the scores a little bit.”

Oklahoma State coach Alan Bratton understands a couple of issues about championship golf. His staff’s house venue – Karsten Creek – has hosted a couple of championships and he has been a part of many as a participant and a coach.

“I really just appreciate how much they’ve put into making the championship. They’ve obviously brought in the rough lines and spent money overseeding and watering and doing all the things that you’d like them to do when you’re going to host a championship,” mentioned Bratton. “The green complexes are really good here, so there’s a lot of nice hole locations. You’ve got to be precise with those short irons and wedges, you can’t just blast it around wherever you want, which you could do if they were soft. Credit to the people who put on the tournament. They’ve done a really good job. We’re excited to see what they do over the next few days.”

Clemson coach Larry Penley additionally talked about how essential it is to hit a great tee ball.

“I think it’s a good test that and the rough makes all the difference as well. You have to hit the ball in the fairway,” mentioned Penley. “After the practice round, I felt like even par would be a tremendous score. And that’s holding true.”

Everything has gone in keeping with plan for Pock.

“Our goal was May 1 to be tournament ready. All we had to do was just maintain it and the staff killed it. Our timing was almost impeccable,” mentioned Pock, who has near 40 individuals working to take care of the course’s two weeks of championship golf.

With two more rounds of stroke play after which two more days of match play, there is room for Grayhawk to chew more durable.

“We haven’t even started cranking these greens up,” mentioned Pock. “We have junior events where our greens are harder than this, but we are in a good spot and if we need to dial it up with speed and firmness it will be fairly easy for us to do this.”

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