FAIRWAY STRIPES – SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED

by Eric J. von Hofen
Over the last few months I have noticed a trend while attending and watching professional golf events on TV and around the world. I have even shot out a few Tweets about it and I think I have hit a nerve with some people. Question: Should fairways be striped or not? It seems like I might have lost my mind or I don’t know which country I’m in. This year there have been more courses on the European Tour that have striped their fairways than courses in the United States. Also the European Tour players are dominating the world rankings. This picture above is from the BMW PGA Championship on the West Course at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England. What is going on? Are we slipping?
Torrey Pines by Eric J. von Hofen
We all know this course. Torrey Pines has hosted some big events over the years and it’s one of the greatest layouts in the world. Does that fairway look inviting to you? When I see this in my travels, I think damn, another victim. The asset manager or penny pincher strikes again. I can just hear it, “mow them all in one direction and we will save some money”. Or “we can say we are going green and cutting back”. Whatever! I think courses have lost their eye on the goal line.
Eric von Hofen at Kingsbarns Golf Links Scotland
I have played courses in Scotland, like this one above (Kingsbarns), and thought they did a great job with the mowing lines and patterns. The checker board look would be just too much.
Doral Blue Monster by Eric J. von Hofen
This picture shows the 16th hole at Doral during the PGA TOUR event in 2005. Guests paying $350 to pay the Blue loved the look and expected it to look like this.

I heard Jack Nicklaus tell a story in person about when he played the Masters in the 80’s.  He would pick a white mowing line and hit his tee ball at it to get a few more yards of roll. I grew up watching the Bear and loved the stripes at Augusta. Then they were gone. But Jack still wanted the fairways at Muirfield Village checker boarded. I mowed those fairways at Muirfield in the summer of 1990 and have to say they were perfect. Each pinch point and landing area was laid out perfect. You could never hit a white line of the tee because the pattern would not allow it. Let’s see how they will look and play this week.

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College Roommates Prep Courses For Back To Back PGA TOUR Events


Ten years ago, Kurt von Hofen and Lukus Harvey were sitting next to each other in Turfgrass Management class at The Ohio State University. This month they are competing again, now on a national stage. Kurt, Golf Course Superintendent at El Camaleon, will be hosting the PGA TOUR’S Mayakoba Golf Classic on February 21, 2011, in Riviera Maya-Cancun Playa del Carmen, Mexico. On February 28, 2011, Lukus, Director of Agronomy at PGA National Resort & Spa, will be hosting The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Kurt von Hofen at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico

Kurt von Hofen at Mayakoba

Both Kurt and Lukus took similar but different paths to get where they are today. They both graduated from The Ohio State University, moved to Florida, worked hard and took some chances.  Kurt built his experience while holding the following positions:  2007-2010, Golf Course Superintendent, Jupiter Hills Club, Jupiter, Fla.; 2002-2007, Assistant Superintendent, The Bear’s Club, Jupiter, Fla.; 2001, Intern, Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio. His pervious tournament preparation consists  of  the 2008 Florida State Golf Association 91st Amateur Championship, Jupiter Hills Club, Jupiter, Fla.; 2007-2008 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier, Jupiter Hills Club, Jupiter, Fla.; 2001 Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio.

Lukus Harvey, Seve Ballesteros and Eric von Hofen at Doral

Lukus Harvey, Seve Ballesteros and Eric von Hofen at Doral

Lukus built his background while holding the following positions: 2005-2010, Golf & Grounds Superintendent, The Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Jupiter, Fla.; 2003-2005, Golf Course Superintendent, Doral Resort & Spa (Blue Course), Miami, Fla.; 2002- 2003, Assistant Superintendent, John’s Island Club (West Course), Vero Beach, Fla.; 2001-2002, Assistant Superintendent, Calusa Pines Golf Club, Naples, Fla.; 2000, Intern, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.; 1994- 1999, Intern/Crew, Walden Golf & Tennis Club, Aurora, Ohio.  His previous tournament preparation consists of the 2004-2005 Ford Championship, Doral Resort & Spa, Miami, Fla.
PGA NATIONAL LUKUS HARVEY
The world will be watching, so I hope these two guys take some time to smell the roses and realize just how far and fast they have travelled together.  Best of luck boys and I will see you both at your events.

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