Green Section's Albums
2013 US Open Maintenance Images
May 2, 2012 to Jun 14, 2013
Green Section's Albums > 2013 US Open Maintenance Images
These are pictures taken by USGA Green Section staff working at the 2013 U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club. The images depict the wide variety of maintenance practices and course preparation efforts underway to prepare the course for the hosting of the national championship.
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If the sign in the background isn't enough, the wicker basket on the flagstick should make it clear the 2013 Open is at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, June 10-16, 2013. (USGA/Staff)


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The wicker baskets are found on the practice putting green as well. (USGA/Staff)


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Some of the maintenance volunteers waiting for their evening assignments. (USGA/Staff)


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Shift assignments to the approximately 175 maintenance staff and volunteers are passed out by Merion East Course Superintendent Aaron McCurdy (USGA/staff)


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Double cutting and rolling are often performed daily to prepare putting surfaces for play. The frequency of putting green maintenance operations is closely monitored, evaluated and adjusted daily. (USGA/Staff)


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A Merion equipment technician sets a greensmower to 0.093 inches (about the thickness of a nickel) using a dial gauge. This is referred to as the 'bench' setting and can differ slightly from the actual cutting height that occurs with mowing. (USGA/Staff)


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Greensmowers ready to go. (USGA/Staff)


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A Merion equipment technician makes a field adjustment. A great mechanic is invaluable to every course. Click here to learn more. (Kaminski)


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A special tool that utilizes a prism is used to evaluate the actual mowing height, which can differ slightly from the 'bench' setting - the setting made in the maintenance facility. (USGA/Staff)


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A macroscope is used to evaluate how cleanly the greensmowers are cutting the turf. Mowers are sharpened and adjusted daily to ensure the best cut possible. (USGA/Staff)


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Greensmowers carrying turning boards heading out to mow. Nearly 50 labor hours will be used to mow and roll approximately three acres of greens each day. (USGA/Staff)


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Frequent rolling and mowing is most stressful along putting green edges and collars where rollers start/stop and mowers turn. Carpet, plywood, or other materials are used to provide a surface on which to turn the mower to avoid bruising the turf. (USGA/Staff)


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Preparation begins long before the sun comes up and often continues until after it sets. (USGA/Staff)


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Most golf course employees are used to starting early but not everyone has the benefits of lights as they do at Merion. (USGA/Staff)


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Double cutting and rolling are often performed daily to prepare putting surfaces for play. The frequency of putting green maintenance operations is closely monitored, evaluated and adjusted daily. (USGA/Staff)


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20 greens will be prepared daily, including the 18 greens on the East course, 2 practice greens, and 3 greens on the West course which are maintained as nurseries. (USGA/Staff)


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A variety of rollers are used to prepare the course during the championship. In this case, the approaches to the greens are being rolled. (USGA/Staff)


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A huge amount of equipment is required to prepare the course in timely fashion. (USGA/Staff)


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There will not be an intermediate rough at Merion for the Open. To provide a gradual transition from the fairway to the rough a mower is adjusted higher on one side than on the other. (USGA/Staff)


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Tees are mowed daily with triplexes. (USGA/Staff)


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Tees to be used for the U.S. Open are taken out of play well before the championship to ensure complete turf coverage. In addition, netting is used to protect teeing areas on par-3s from excessive wear before and during practice rounds. (USGA/Staff)


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Superintendent Matt Shaffer checks out one of the rough mowing units. (USGA/Staff)


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Maintenance is ongoing just about every place you look. Evening activities include include rolling fairways and topping the rough. (USGA/Staff)


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Fairways are mowed twice each day, weather permitting. (USGA/Staff)


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The USGA's Stimpmeter is heavily used at all USGA championships. To learn more about the Stimpmeter click
Stimpmeter (USGA/Staff)


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Stimpmeter readings are taken twice daily on each green to ensure every green remains within the targeted speed for the U.S. Open. (USGA/Staff)


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Surface firmness of the greens and approaches are measured multiple times throughout the day using the USGA TruFirm testing device. Click here to learn more about the TruFirm (USGA/Staff)


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Soil moisture meters are used to guide hand-watering efforts and also to achieve desired surface firmness of the greens and approaches. Moisture meters are tools that every course should utilize to accurately determine irrigation needs. Click here to learn more about how moisture meters are used in turf management. (USGA/Staff)


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Determining the proper amount of water to apply to the greens is done through a combination of high tech tools and the Merion staff's years of experience. Water management is critical to every course. Click here to learn more about golf's use of water. (USGA/Staff)


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Greens are often lightly misted with water just prior to mowing. This helps the equipment move more smoothly across the surface and helps the operator see mowing lines more clearly. (USGA/Staff)


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Sand depth is monitored throughout the U.S. Open. (USGA/Staff)


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The preparation of bunkers for a U.S. Open involves hand raking (possibly more than once daily), frequent checking of sand depth, and even managing the moisture in the sand. This level of management in hazards can be accomplished at a championship venue but would be cost-prohibitive and unnecessary at most courses. How about the bunkers at your course? Click here to find out. (USGA/Staff)


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About 80 labor hours will be used to hand rake the bunkers each day during the U.S. Open. (USGA/Staff)


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Turf professionals come from all over for the experience of helping to prepare the course for a U.S. Open. The two men on either side of USGA senior agronomist Chris Hartwiger traveled all the way from Australia to be a part of this year's team. Not surprisingly, lifelong friendships are often formed by the experience.


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Often the superintendents from courses that are slated to host future USGA championships volunteer to help prepare the course for this year's Open. On the left is Jon Jennings, superintendent of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, site of the 2018 U.S. Open. To the right is Jim Roney, superintendent of Saucon Valley CC which will host the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur. (USGA/Staff)


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Andy North testing the bunkers. (USGA/Staff)


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The heavy rain flooded and washed out many bunkers on the golf course including this one, the left side fairway bunker on the 16th hole. (USGA/Staff)


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The same bunker 40 minutes later. (USGA/Staff)


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Pumps are used to remove water from the bunkers as quickly as possible following Monday's heavy rains. (USGA/Staff)


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Just under 1 inch of rain fell in 45 minutes on the first day of practice rounds causing the creek that flows around the 11th green to flood. Fortunately, the green did not go under, but significant cleanup of debris will be required. (USGA/Staff)


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Hosting the Open includes being prepared for inclement weather. Hopefully, this type of work will be unnecessary over the coming days but if it is, the staff at Merion is ready. (USGA/Staff)


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Merion received 3.5 inches of rain from tropical storm Andrea. Thanks to good drainage and a dedicated staff and volunteers the course was back in shape very quickly. (USGA/Staff)


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The grounds crew squeegee standing water at the 18th green in preparation for the resumption of play after Thursday's three-hour-plus suspension due to weather. (USGA/Joel Kowsky)


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A building within a building - volunteer area inside of the Merion maintenance facility. (USGA/Staff)


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Merion's practice tee is relatively unscathed as of Monday. (USGA/Staff)


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Divot patterns on the practice tee vary according to the player. Click here to learn more managing divots on the practice range at your course. (USGA/Staff)


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Everyone knows the players feel pressure at the Open but how about the onsite meteorlogist? Jake Swick uses an array of equipment to monitor the weather for dangerous conditions and to provide forecasts that influence maintenance decisions. (USGA/Staff)


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The Green Section agronomists are always part of the USGA staff working USGA championships. The agronomists this year are (from left to right) Darin Bevard, Keith Happ, and Chris Hartwiger. Click here to learn more about the USGA Green Section. (USGA/Staff)


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Chris Hartwiger, left, USGA staff, uses the Stimpmeter to measure the speed of the green on the 17th hole during a practice round at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. (Copyright USGA/Steve Gibbons)


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Divots are filled daily by 24 volunteers - 12 on each side. (USGA/Staff)


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Members of the maintenance staff fill in divots after play was suspended for the day on Thursday. (USGA/Darren Carroll)


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Fairway mowers heading out to the course. (USGA/Staff)


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Those fortunate to attend the U.S. Open this year will find much to do in addition to watching the players. The Chevron STEM Zone is a joint effort between Chevron and the USGA that allows people of all ages to see how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, impact the game of golf. (USGA/Staff)


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Visitors to the Chevron STEM zone have the chance to learn a little about how agronomy and golf go together. The exhibit allows a "hands-on" experience.


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Hard and chewings fescues are used extensively around the bunkers at Merion. It not only creates challenge and adds beauty to the course, it helps reduce the amount of maintenance necessary in these areas. Click here to learn about naturalized areas at your course. (Copyright/USGA John Mummert)


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Merion make heavy use of fescue and naturalized areas. This not only adds a great deal of challenge and beauty to the course, these areas require less water to maintain. There is a lot more to fescue that most think. Click here to learn more. (Copyright/USGA John Mummert)


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The fairways at Merion are mowed in a circle pattern (sometimes referred to as the "traditional cut") rather than the striped pattern often seen on televised events. While less striking to the eye, the circle pattern is much more efficient in terms of time and the amount of fuel consumed to mow the fairway. (Copyright/USGA John Mummert)


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Although there are plenty of volunteers caring for the bunkers at Merion, Sergio Garcia demonstrates that the player also shares the responsibility to take care of the course. Click here to learn more about how you can help your course. (Copyright/USGA John Mummert)


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Caring for the wicker baskets is the responsibility of the maintenance staff at Merion. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)


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The wicker baskets are ready to be transported to the course for the day's play. The red tops are on the first nine holes, the orange on holes 10-18. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)


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Hole locations are selected well in advance of the championship. However, before any hole is cut, a team of USGA staff members reevaluates the location to ensure the setup is appropriate for the day's play. (USGA/Staff)


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Hole locations are identified and recorded well in advance of the championship. They are precisely relocated for each round. The exact distance from front to back is located first. (Kaminski)


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A tee square is used to provide the line for the second axis (side to side) measurement. (Kaminski)


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Once the exact point has been located, the new hole is cut. (USGA/Staff)


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The liner is installed to the proper depth by using a cup setter. The hole is then painted to enhance visibility. (USGA/Staff)


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A section of pipe is used to roll the area to ensure it is perfectly smooth and flat. (USGA/Staff)


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The finished product ready for play. (USGA/Staff)


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A simple T square is also used for aligning tee markers to the target area. This simple tool should be used by courses for daily play as well as for the national championship. (USGA/Staff)


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While the course is holding up beautifully in spite of the weather, concentrated spectator and vehicle traffic can take a toll. (Kaminski)


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