FORT WAYNE – The United States Golf Association is notorious for wanting its courses in particular condition for championships, as anyone who has played in the U.S. Open can confirm.
So one might think that Sycamore Hills Golf Club, which has a busy schedule of events, would have to make some changes to things such as the speed of the greens and the length of the rough in short order this summer.
Sycamore Hills will play host for the U.S. Girls’ Junior, a USGA event, July 22 through July 27. And then, Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, Sycamore Hills will have the Hotel Fitness Championship, which is part of the finals on the Web.com Tour that grooms players for the PGA Tour.
But the PGA professional at Sycamore Hills, Tim Frazier, said it won’t be problematic to satisfy the demands of the USGA and then the Web.com Tour.
I hate to say this because you will think it’s a stock answer – but it’s not a stock answer – that the reality is we’re very fortunate to have this championship venue, Frazier said.
All entities that have come and visited have basically said, This is amazing. We could launch tomorrow and play under your conditions.’ So, for the most part, the answer is not much is going to change at all.
The USGA is already talking about the speed of the Sycamore Hills greens, promising an 11 to 11 1/2 speed off the Stimpmeter, a 36-inch-long device used by the USGA to determine such things. That number means the golf ball rolls 11 to 11 1/2 feet after being released from the Stimpmeter on a flat part of the green, and that’s a U.S. Open-type of speed.
As for the rough, the USGA wants Sycamore Hills to have rough 64 inches wide and 1 inch high on either side of the fairways. And there should be primary rough 3 to 3 ½ inches high.
You’re basically talking similar to what the Web.com Tour is wanting. It’s basically the same thing, Frazier said.
Sycamore Hills is accustomed to preparing the course for such demands after playing host for the USGA’s Women’s State Team Championship in 2009, the PGA of America’s Junior PGA Championship from 2010 to 2012, and even having a small Mad Anthonys event with LPGA professionals last year, not to mention pleasing its own members.
And Sycamore Hills may have to get used to this rigamarole, if it continues to play host for national championships.
The U.S. Girls’ Junior is only here for one year, since the USGA likes to change venues, but Sycamore Hills will continue to be in the mix for other USGA and PGA of America championships.
The Hotel Fitness Championship will be at Sycamore Hills at least through 2015.
The one difference you will really see between the tournaments (this summer) is there will be four days of TV coverage for the Web.com Tour (on the Golf Channel), so there will be things like skyboxes and TV towers, Frazier said.