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November 12 2013

4:30 PM

Turf talk: El Camaleon Golf Club

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The OHL Classic's new date falls right after conclusion of the Yucatán Peninsula’s rainy season.

By Jeff Shain, PGATour.COM contributor

The PGA TOUR’s new wraparound calendar has given a big boost to the OHL Classic, given its own date at the end of the fall schedule.

The move, though, does come with a certain risk: The late November date falls right after conclusion of the Yucatán Peninsula’s rainy season, and there’s no guarantee the moisture will depart on time.

Case in point: The 6 inches of rain that fell two Sundays ago on the Fairmont Mayakoba resort complex and El Camaleon Golf Club, leaving new superintendent Logan Spurlock and his crew scrambling a bit to get the course ready.

“I think it’s cleared up now,” said Spurlock, who arrived May 1 from California’s Sherwood Country Club. “(Last) week was kind of a rough week, but luckily it’s broken and we’ve had some really good sun the last two days.”

Though the fairways are somewhat softer than they’d typically be under the old February date, continued drying should allow them to be firm and fast by the start of Thursday’s opening round. The only exception, Spurlock said, would be a low-lying part of the No. 1 fairway.

“It sits below some other areas around there,” Spurlock said. “But it’s a good 335 yards off the tee. I don’t think anybody’s going to get there, hitting into the [prevailing] wind. If anybody gets there, I’d be surprised.”

The OHL Classic previously was a late February event, played opposite the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. That avoided the rainy season, which begins in early May. But when the old Disney stop vacated the last weekend of the schedule, Mexico saw a chance for its own date.

The only question is whether rainy season would linger.

“We’re kind of at the tail end of it right now,” Spurlock said. “So we’re removed from (the threat), but that doesn’t mean storms won’t shoot up like that one that hit us a couple of weeks ago.”

That 6 inches that soaked the area Nov. 3 came in about a 12-hour span. Lesser storms added another 4 inches in subsequent days.

“That one came out of the south,” Spurlock said, “and whenever it comes from the south, it just sits on top of us.”

It’s been a wet year overall for the Cancún and Riviera Maya coastline. Spurlock noted that since he first arrived May 1, some 80 inches of rain has fallen on the resort.

Spurlock spent seven years at Sherwood CC, where he was in charge of preparing that layout for Tiger Woods’ annual 16-man Northwester Mutual World Challenge each December. Conditions could be wet there, too, though frost was his bigger concern.

“That rainy season was a completely different monster,” he said. “Here not only do we have rain, but it’s warm. Going into an event where we’re still growing grass makes me feel better.

“Both are difficult to get where you want in their own right, but we can push things a little better (at El Camaleon) than we did at Sherwood.”

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