For the third time in ten years, famed New York municipal course Bethpage Black will host a major PGA tournament. After holding the U.S. Open in 2002 and 2009, Bethpage Black welcomes The Barclays 23-26 August, the first leg of the 2012 FedExCup playoffs.
For Bethpage Black Superintendent Andrew Wilson, it will be the first time at the helm for a major PGA event. “I was an assistant here for the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens, so I have a good feel for what has to get done,” said Wilson. “For me, it’s the sideshow of the cables, tents and wires that presents the biggest challenge. I have confidence in my crew and know they will have the course in great shape.”
Wilson also knows what it’s like to host the tournament during extreme weather conditions. “The 2009 U.S. Open was pretty much a washout, I am hoping we can leave the squeegees and water pumps in the barn this time,” saidWilson. “Although it’s been hot, humid and windy this summer, the weather forecast is looking good for the next few days and the forecast is on our side the upcoming week.”
Right now, Wilson and his crew are putting the final touches on the course, fixing ball marks and filling in divots. Before the sun comes up,Wilson’s crew mans a fleet of Jacobsen mowers to maintain the championship turf. Wilson and Beth Page Black are supported locally by Jacobsen dealer Malvese Equipment Co.
“We’re using Jacobsen ECLIPSE mowers on the greens and SLF-1880s on the fairways,” saidWilson. “They’re great mowers that have worked out real well for us.”
Wilson is also using Jacobsen LF-550 fairway mowers on two of Bethpage State Park’s other courses. Tournament sponsors have teamed up with the course to allow corporate patrons to play a combination of 18 holes between the nearby Red and Blue courses.
“The idea is that patrons can play 18 holes in the morning then come out and watch the tournament in the afternoon,” said Wilson. “It’s a neat concept that is sure to create a unique tournament experience.”
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