The Presidents Cup returns to Royal Melbourne Golf Club in the second week of December, making it the third occasion Australia’s number one ranked club has hosted this prestigious event.
It is set to be a busy period for director of courses Richard Forsyth and his crew, with the Presidents Cup tournament week schedule kicking off on Friday 6 December with the start of practice rounds for the Junior Presidents Cup which features as part of the event this year. The Presidents Cup itself tees off on Thursday 12 December with a total of 30 matches across four days, culminating with the 12 singles matches on the Sunday.
In the most recent edition of Australian Turfgrass Management Journal (Vol 21.5 – September-October), Forsyth provided an update on course preparations. The article looked at the Captains’ visits made last November/December, the Junior Presidents Cup component of this year's event, staffing and volunteers, course configuration, tournament logistics as well as turf management practices undertaken and planned.
While the bulk of the International and US teams were confirmed back in August, tomorrow (Thursday 7 Nov) and Friday (8 Nov) will see the highly-anticipated announcements of the Captain’s picks. Tiger Woods (US) and Ernie Els (International) must name four additional players to join the eight players already qualified. Following his win in China last week – his 82nd PGA Tour victory which equalled Sam Snead’s record – Woods effectively ensured he will be one of those four which will make for tantalising viewing.
While the golfing world awaits that announcement, the crew at RMGC have been quietly going about their preparations. As the tournament counts down over the next six weeks, RMGC East Course superintendent Craig Anthony will provide a series of course updates as they continue to fine-tune the much-lauded Composite Course. The ASTMA thanks Richard and Craig for allowing this insight and wishes them and the RMGC crew all the best for the coming weeks…
Six weeks out from the Presidents Cup, it has been a hive of activity here at Royal Melbourne. In addition to our continual cultural practices, tournament infrastructure has started going up around the Composite Course which has really brought home to the crew that the tournament is just around the corner.
Out on the course and in the maintenance facility we have undertaken the following;
The past week has also seen the start of tournament infrastructure going up around the course. This has necessitated the vital task of marking out of underground pipe work and power to allow pegging down of the structures. At the time of writing, eight of 15 grandstands have been completed. The grandstands are much bigger than when the tournament was last here in 2011, with the 1st tee/18th green grandstand alone having a capacity of 1600 spectators. The 16th hole scaffold decking for hospitality structures has also been completed, with the decking 250 metres in length. A cart barn has also been built on the 19th hole, which will hold a total of 300 electric carts. Club Car containers will shortly arrive from the US and assembly of the 300 carts will take place at the Sandringham maintenance facility.
Craig Anthony, Superintendent East Course