Valhalla Golf Club Superintendent Roger Meier has his course looking picture perfect for this week’s PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. Meier’s crew – which has swelled to 41 staff with 84 volunteers – have worked long days and nights in preparation for the last major event of the year.
It wasn’t too long ago Meier himself lent a hand at Valhalla for the 2008 Ryder Cup.
“I volunteered here in 2008 and met the former superintendent Mark Wilson,” said Meier. “I was able to spend time with him and learn more about how Valhalla was prepared for the Ryder Cup.”
After serving five years as superintendent of Chariot’s Run in nearby Indiana, Meier replaced a retiring Wilson at Valhalla. Soon after he started, Meier led a major course renovation after the 2011 Senior PGA Championship and this week’s PGA Championship.
“Closing the course for a solid year was the biggest challenge for us and our team,” said Meier. “But in that year we were able to rebuild all the putting surfaces, enhance the bunkers, improve the drainage and irrigation, and renovate all the roughs. It was a major facelift that’s paying off wonderfully now.”
The players, fans and media agree that Meier and his team have Valhalla looking better than ever. One of Meier’s favorite maintenance tools used to prepare Valhalla has been a fleet of Jacobsen ECLIPSE walking greens mowers.
“The Jacobsen ECLIPSE mowers are very user-friendly. There’s just so many things you can do with those mowers to increase the quality-of-cut and achieve the results that you want from a green speed standpoint without putting all that mechanical stress on the plant,” said Meier. “We’ve got the frequency-of-clip (FOC) settings on these mowers so dialed in that we’ve been able to raise our height-of-cut leading up to the tournament yet still maintain impressive speed on the greens for our membership.”
So what’s next for Meier and his team after the last truck has left Valhalla next week?
“I will definitely be going on a vacation,” said Meier. “But really the number one priority is to get this course reconditioned for our members. Their satisfaction is what it’s all about.”
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