Wells Fargo Championship: Grassless greens get rolled

04/27/2013 11:07 PM

04/27/2013 11:11 PM

Last week, days before before the players arrived, the Wells Fargo Championship had no hope of getting the eighth and 10th greens into playable condition, so officials resodded the putting surfaces.

Word had reached the offices of the Wells Fargo Championship on Tuesday that Tiger Woods had decided to bypass the tournament, but there were more urgent matters.

Two greens at Quail Hollow Club — Nos. 8 and 10 — had no grass on them.

The Wells Fargo Championship is Thursday through Sunday.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve never done this,” said Cal Roth, senior vice president for agronomy for the PGA Tour. “We’ve had to patch parts of greens a lot of times, but this is the first time we’ve done entire greens.”

On a course that is in spectacular condition otherwise, the eighth and 10th greens failed to respond to efforts to generate suitable grass cover. Several weeks ago, both greens were tented in an effort to generate growth. When it didn’t help the 10th green, it was resodded.

When the first resodding failed at No. 10, the decision was made to redo it, this time using a different cultivation approach.

Thin patches on parts of the 12th and 13th greens have responded well in recent days and tournament officials anticipate no issues on those greens.

Roth and others stood off the edge of the 10th green Tuesday afternoon after the sod had been laid, watching a worker roll a machine across the new bent grass surface to begin smoothing the seams in the rolls of sod.

Not far away, the par-4 eighth green had nothing but a sand base until workers began spooling out the sod on the redesigned putting surface.

“What we had was not getting better and everyone came to the decision over the weekend that our best chance was to do this,” Roth said.

Quail Hollow has had issues with its putting surfaces the past two summers, and the club will close one week after the Wells Fargo Championship to begin an immediate conversion to more heat-tolerant bermuda grass.

The conversion was planned for 2015 but recent issues led to the transition this year.

The new bent grass sod came from Sandhill Turf near Pinehurst and arrived in rolls 48 inches wide and up to 60 feet long. After it was installed, a steady pattern of rolling and watering is expected to make the greens playable next week, though they may lack a bit of speed and firmness compared to the other greens.

“The reason we’re doing this is it has the absolute best upside for the situation,” said PGA Tour official Dillard Pruitt, who is in charge of the tournament set up.

Pruitt was rolling putts on the new 10th green on Tuesday afternoon.

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