Golf Course Management

JUN 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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44 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.18 fit into the course architecture make for breathtaking views. Hydration factors were adjusted, including the positioning of sprin - klers, so they don't throw into native areas. e dunes also have a more sandy appear - ance — the way they looked in the 1930s — a decision that was made after revisiting im - ages of Shinnecock Hills from that era. e bentgrass/Poa annua greens were overseeded to incorporate more bentgrass. A steady breeze seems to blow at Shin - necock Hills, a byproduct of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Although summer - time brings a prevailing southern wind, Jen- nings warns anybody who comes to the U.S. Open to bring a coat. "You've got to dress like it's 10 degrees cooler," he says. e heat is on, though, when you are prepping for an event of this magnitude. Fact: Shinnecock Hills is the only club to host the U.S. Open in three different cen - turies, including the second championship. No sweat, says Michael Ford, one of Jen - nings' assistants at Shinnecock Hills who interned for him at Chicago GC. "Both places, Chicago and here, are historical, membership-driven, successful. ey know what they want," Ford says. "It can be a stressful position to be in, but it can be successful, and it will be with Jon. He's an intense individual — not just at work, but anything he does. He takes everything to the next level." The third hole at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is a par-4 that features a long approach shot to the green. Photo © USGA/John Mummert ployee, makes everybody feel they're part of the team, part of the family. He'd put out a challenge. I'd accept the challenge. I'd conquer the challenge, then go one step fur - ther," says Aaron Willing, an assistant there for Jennings. Obviously, Chicago GC still showcases what Jennings launched, which continues under current GCSAA Class A superin - tendent Scott Bordner, a 16-year associa- tion member. Next month, it will host the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, which is coming to Chicago GC for the first time. Although Jennings is gone, he's not forgot - ten. "He took us from being an outdated, tired golf course to being world class," says Steve Daly, the green chairman when Jen - nings was hired. What Jennings has achieved doesn't sur - prise PGA Tour vice president-rules Mark Russell. "Something that sets him apart is that when these nice clubs came looking for a superintendent, they looked for Jon," Rus - sell says. Iconic renderings Shinnecock Hills and Chicago GC offer quite the canvas. Jennings drew on his skills to aid the restoration of their roots. "Both are like museums. It's no different than having a masterpiece of art. All we did was freshen up the frame," he says. "If you look at the foundation of both golf courses, they were intact. We just cleaned them up and made them look shinier." e main commonality to the restora - tions that were done at both clubs was re- turning playing areas to their original lo- cations. At Shinnecock Hills, what will patrons or viewers notice most about the changes? Fairways that are wider than before — including all 14 of the par 4s and par 5s. e entire agronomic plan was guided by the USGA in a collaborative effort with Shinnecock Hills. Fairways will be as much as 15 yards wider compared with the last U.S. Open there in 2004. ey will average 41 yards wide rather than 26 yards, accord - ing to Darin Bevard, director of champion- ship agronomy for the USGA Green Sec- tion. e project, which included replacing 7 acres of fairways and greenside surrounds with intermediate-mowed fescue and seed - head fescue, was completed in September in 10 days. "Restoring some of the angles was im - portant for challenging these guys with the ultimate test of golf," Bevard says. Shinnecock Hills is more than 400 yards longer now than 14 years ago. e par 70 will play at more than 7,400 yards. Grass - lands were restored to their original perim- eters. Ten new tees were added, including No. 18. Stone contamination was eradicated from all greenside bunkers, and trees were removed. Jennings says dunes that brilliantly

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