Clay DuBose, golf course superintendent for TPC Myrtle Beach, discusses the stellar conditions of the Tom Fazio design, the work his staff has put in to prepare the course for NCAA competition May 13-15, and what spectators can expect when they come to see the action.
Clay DuBose: We’ll try to get the greens a little firmer and a little faster. The rest of the golf course will play almost identical to how we set it up for resort play. We typically try to offer a PGA Tour-type experience. We’ll grow the rough up just a little bit, not quite as much as we do for the Dustin Johnson tournament, just because the time of the year, because we’re in between grasses.
We will have some tucked pins out there that’ll make some bunkers come more into play. And we may not play every hole as far back as we possibly can. The golf course probably is almost 7,000 yards from the tips.
There are a couple par threes out there (where) you can kind of get creative. Some false fronts on a few greens, water fronts on some of the greens. So on those couple holes we may have them playing at 100, 110 yards and the pin up front, so if you’re not very accurate with that approach shot the ball can pull back off the front of the green and down the slope, and maybe even in the water.
We installed the Better Billy Bunker drainage system (in summer 2018). The Better Billy Bunker system is basically a two-inch gravel layer across the whole bunker floor, sprayed with a polymer, and then we installed the G-Angle tour-quality sand. Before we did this, we could get as little as a one-inch rainfall in an hour, hour and a half, and the bunkers would be full of water, faces washed out, and it would take our staff three to four days to put them back together. Now, we could get an inch, inch and a half, sometimes two inches of rain, and within 30 minutes the water will be gone. There are very few washouts. It allows us to put those bunkers back into normal playing conditions very quickly.
It’s a very spectator-friendly golf course as far as walking. Parallel holes running on one and 10, two and 11. Then the area kind of draws to a focal point out there at No. 2 green, No. 7 tee, No. 7 green, No. 11 green, No. 8 tee, No. 12 tee, so it kind of gets you in a drawing point. You can see a bunch of golf. There’ll be a scoreboard out there right in the middle. It’s very easy access.
Also, there’s a lot of stadium-type effects around these greens, where spectators can stand on the mounds and see really good golf. It’s very walker-friendly. There are a few other sections out there where you can kind of move through the course and meander without having to walk miles upon miles. So you can see a lot of good golf.