To get Royal Melbourne presenting the way it did for the Presidents Cup took a monumental team effort. But there were two men in particular who played a very unique and vital role.
Mark Stravato is not the sort of person who likes being the centre of attention. The quietly spoken, unassuming Royal Melbourne head turf technician readily admits he gets nervous in group settings and much prefers the familiar confines of the maintenance facility workshop. It’s his domain, where he feels most comfortable and where his skills really shine.
The much-lauded turf surfaces presented at Royal Melbourne for last December’s were the result of many things coming together – the knowledge and guidance of one of the most experienced superintendents in the business, the dedication of a skilled and passionate senior crew and the efforts of a 90-strong tournament crew all wanting to showcase their best to a worldwide television audience of some 1.7 billion. But upon addressing the crew for the last time ahead of the final day’s play and thanking them all, Forsyth reserved special mention for two in particular.
The manner in which Royal Melbourne’s hallowed turf was presented that week would not have been possible without the professionalism of both Stravato and his assistant Noel Jorgensen. Taking it upon themselves, they effectively spent eight months preparing Royal Melbourne’s huge fleet of machinery to be at a level demanded for such a prestigious tournament.
This article was origninally published in Volume 22.1 (Jan-Feb 2020) of the Australian Turfgrass Management Journal. Click here to subscribe to the journal.