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The Tour Report

May 23 2012

11:38 AM

Turf Talk: Crowne Plaza Invitational

By David McPherson, PGATOUR.COM contributor

Grooming and preparing a golf course that Ben Hogan called home and won five times is an honor Scott Ebers relishes.

turf-talk-200 The seasoned superintendent at Colonial Country Club says the course is peaking at the right time. Ebers can thank Mother Nature a bit for the firm, dry conditions.

The Fort-Worth area has been blessed with a warm winter and hotter than normal spring. He says the temperatures are a little hotter this past week than he would like for the bentgrass greens. The heat means Ebers and his crew will most likely have to work with TOUR officials to hand water the greens with hoses in between groups, once play begins tomorrow.

“It takes a coordinated effort to accomplish this,” he explains. “We really only need to spend about one minute touching up the worst spots and then we’ll get off the green before the next group arrives.”

Green speeds will be between 12 and 13 this week, and the rough will top out around 3 inches. Preparation for the final TOUR stop in Texas is always on Eber’s mind, but things really ramp up the beginning of March when he starts thinking about what agronomic practices he must complete prior to the tournament. This is his eighth year prepping Colonial for the world’s best golfers. He admits, each event gets a little bit easier, thanks to good preparation and an experienced crew.

“After a while you get better at trying to prepare for it and you don’t get overwhelmed by the process,” Ebers says.  

In 2008, Colonial underwent a significant renovation by architect Keith Foster. All bunkers, green surrounds and tees were enhanced and the yardage was increased. Since then, there have been few changes. One addition this year is a significant improvement to the driving range, which Ebers says has received a lot of compliments from the pros already. He expects, if the winds keep up, the course should be a good test for the TOUR players this week.

“If the winds stay strong, and with the decent amount of rough we have, I think the course will be challenging without being too severe,” he says. “The rough is not ankle deep, but it’s gnarly enough.”