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Getting Southern Hills 'show' ready for the KitchenAid Senior PGA championship

Posted at 8:00 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 10:26:51-04

TULSA, Okla. — Grounds keeping staff at Southern Hills Country Club can finally show off all their hard work.

After more than a month of preparation, all 18-holes at Southern Hills are ready to be under the spotlight. But, getting there wasn’t easy. There are just about 250 acres of land to cover at the golf course with only a 35-man crew to care for it all; that includes ground staff and course mechanics. Many of them sacrificed long hours to be there in preparation for the event.

To help with their efforts, dozens of volunteers with the PGA joined their ranks to help in the last week of preparations.

“It’s been a herculean effort by not just our crew but their families to accept them not being there from dawn until dark for a long period of time. It’s now being supported by about 45 volunteers from all over the country to help us get through this week,” superintendent for Southern Hills Russ Myers said.

Getting the course ready for the spring golfers is an annual task. It often entails restoring the fairways and closely monitoring the growth of the grass. The winter and spring cold freezes did not help.

The ideal golf condition is healthy and firm grass. To get that, golf courses need some rain but mostly a lot of sunlight for grass to grow. Crews usually spend much of the early spring trying to grow back some of that grass for a strong base.

The cold snaps during the winter and spring hindered their efforts. With the anticipation of the Senior PGA, crews worked extra hard to cover a lot of ground.

“That cold combined with the wind, it just didn’t come out of the winter. We don’t normally deal with that and certainly don’t deal with that to that scale. We happen to have cameras coming to put a light on it and we needed to meet a deadline,” Myers said.

Southern Hills, along with many courses in the Midwest, use common Bermuda grass for their course. It’s drought-resistant, grows on many soils, and makes for fantastic turf in our climate.

The weather over the past two weeks has been a concern but crews were able to pull off creating perfect conditions for Tuesday’s opening day.

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