SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (WFRV) – Months and months of preparation. That is what it takes to get Whistling Straits in shape for the Ryder Cup.
However, the week of the tournament can bring challenges in maintaining the golf course conditions. So, what type of weather conditions are workers mainly focused on during the tournament?
Matt Zehms, the Golf Course Superintendent on the Irish Course, says “Temperature fluctuations isn’t going to do much for us now. We are ready to go. It’s the large rainfall events that are going to wash our bunkers or cause any flooding or something like that. We are going to spring to action with mulch areas, all the spectator movement. Stuff gets saturated and turns to mud really quick.”
The workers at Whistling Straits are constantly monitoring the weather. And they even have their own weather station.
Chris Zugel is the Director of Golf Course Maintenance at Destination Kohler. He says, “We have a weather station, we primarily rely on just a rain catcher, so we just have catcher that catches the rain…it’s Ol’ Reliable I guess…”
The crew usually works late at night or early in the morning. Golf course conditions, such as green speed and rough length, aren’t changed that much between rounds in hopes of keeping practice rounds similar to the actual Ryder Cup rounds.
The rain gauge in the weather station does give an indication if the property may need to be treated and drained of excess rainfall.
Zugel emphasizes, “A quarter inch of rain not too bad, if there is a half inch that kind of makes you look at certain areas of the course, you know 1 inch you plan for certain things…over 1 inch 2 to 3 inches you start to raise the warning signals.”
After the Ryder Cup, crews usually hope for the golf course to remain dry in order to remove grandstands and camera towers without many issues.