There were so many familiar faces from the golf maintenance industry out at Pebble Beach. It seems that a lot of those people were there to observe the crew, just as much as they were there to see the U.S. Open.
Whenever I go to a music festival and I find myself chitchatting with strangers, I always ask the same question: What’s the best performance you’ve seen so far? I’m always curious as to what impresses people the most, and also if I saw the same thing.
I adapted that music festival question to the festival of golf maintenance that was the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Only I asked, “What impresses you the most about the Pebble Beach golf maintenance team?” And I didn’t ask the question to strangers, I asked it to people in the know …
Here’s a smattering of what I heard back. You’ll see a common theme.
“I think it’s that they make it so much fun,” Mike O’Keeffe, The Ohio State University, told me. “Their teamwork is great. They really try to get the stress out of it. They want to make it where you are going to have fun doing your job — that’s very unique. There are a lot of golf courses where you are very stressed, but these guys, you see the camaraderie. You see the fun they make out of the situation.”
“It’s a very tight-knit, close group of guys who are always on the same page,” Adam Wagner, Erin Hills GC, told me. “They show up ready to get it done every day.”
“The high level that they present the golf course, on a regular basis … they stay busy all the time, and they don’t get worked up, they get it done,” Darin Bevard, the USGA’s director of championship agronomy, said. “They have a plan and they execute the plan almost to perfection every time.”
Kelby Langston, from the IMG Academy Golf Club, Sarasota, Fla., summed it up perfectly.
“The crew (is the most impressive thing),” he said. “Just how nice they are to everybody and how much pride they take in their work. A lot of these guys have been here 20, 30 years. You can tell by their work and how they conduct themselves.”
Guess what? Just like at those music festivals … I saw the same thing.
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