BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – As Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland prepares to host the 147th Open Championship, Toro is honored to play a role in helping prepare the course for play. The Open Championship takes place July 15-22, 2018, marking the eighth time Carnoustie has hosted the Championship. It’s the culmination of a months-long process to ensure optimal conditions for the players — along with the more than 185,000 spectators, officials, media representatives and support staff that are expected.
Refining Course Conditions
For Sandy Reid, Links Superintendent at Carnoustie, it’s a matter of refining the course conditions compared to everyday play. “We want to present the best players in the world with a true links test. We want the turf to be firm and consistent, and we want the greens to be rolling true,” he explains. “From a playability standpoint, that’s the main thing that we want to concentrate on.”
To prepare for The Open, crews are using Toro’s Greensmaster® Flex™ 21 walk-behind (pedestrian) mowers on the greens, Greensmaster TriFlex™ Series 3420 Hybrid greens mowers on greens, tees and surrounds, and Reelmaster® 5410 mowers on fairways — as well as Groundsmaster® 3500-D and Reelmaster 3100 with the Sidewinder® system on semi-roughs and surrounds. In addition, the team uses the ProCore® 648 for aeration throughout the course, along with Workman® utility vehicles.
Performing Under Pressure
“Preparation for The Open starts after the last one finishes,” notes Craig Boath, Head Greenkeeper at Carnoustie’s Championship Course. “There’s a lot of pressure in the lead-up to The Open and the championship week itself. But with the help of Toro, we can get the quality of cut and the course looking amazing.”
According to Sandy McCubbin, Head Maintenance Engineer at Carnoustie, reliability, ease of use and quality of finish in the end are key factors in the course’s choice of equipment. “The most important part of my job has got to be the quality of cut on the cutting units — to make sure the cutting sharpness is spot on,” he affirms. “Even more so with The Open coming because all eyes of the world are on our greens.”
A 30+ Year Relationship
Carnoustie has used Toro equipment for over 30 years, building a strong long-term relationship with the company. “Over the years we’ve had a fantastic relationship with the Toro people, from their sales team to their after-sales team, and the support that they’ve provided over the years — whether it be tournament support or just generally looking after all our needs here,” Reid adds. “The engineers, they really listen to the greenkeeper in order to keep their machinery moving forward.”
“Carnoustie is revered as one of golf’s greatest tests, and we’re proud that they have chosen Toro equipment for this task,” says Barry Beckett, Senior Golf Marketing Manager at the The Toro Company. “With so many eyes on this event, it’s absolutely critical to have equipment that performs reliably. We understand that, and we are honored to be supporting the crew at Carnoustie for The Open and beyond.”
About the Course
With a history in the game of golf that dates back to the early 16th Century, Carnoustie poses several unique challenges. It’s located on exposed links land on Scotland’s east coast, where the elements contribute to the golfing test. It also has challenging bunkering. And in addition to being narrow, it’s over 7,400 yards long – making it the longest course to host The Open.
Carnoustie Golf Links is made up of four courses: the Burnside Course, the Buddon Links Course, the Nestie (a six-hole junior course) and the Championship Course, which has hosted seven previous Opens. In 2016, the Championship Course was ranked as the No. 1 course in Scotland by the general public.
Although it has taken a tremendous amount of teamwork and coordination, the preparations leading up to the week of The Open have been well worth it. In Reid’s words: “The Open is golf’s pre-eminent championship, with the best players and a worldwide audience. As a greenkeeper, it’s the peak of our career — and we thoroughly look forward to July.
For information on Toro equipment and irrigation products for the golf industry worldwide, please visit toro.com/golf.