With the Open Championship returning to one of the world’s most famous links-land courses, Troon Golf caught up with the man in charge of delivering spectacular playing conditions at this year’s tournament. George Brown, estates manager at Turnberry, Ayrshire in Scotland has been based at the reputable course for 24 years. He has been actively involved in three Open Championships, seven Senior Open Championships, Ladies Open Championships and a host of prestigious amateur events. Brown is regarded as one of the finest superintendents in the business. In preparation for the Open Championship, here’s what he had to say about the course:
“Like the Masters at Augusta, the Open is extra special. There’s just something about the tradition behind the tournament. This is why we make that extra effort to get the course in its finest condition. This doesn’t take us too long as we are working from a near complete canvas on a daily basis. But as with your mother-in-law coming round for tea, you make the extra effort!
“We have an additional 21 bunkers this year; these are fairway bunkers that are penal. There will be no flashing of four irons out of them to get to the green. Bunkers are hazards and that’s how we believe they should stay. Those that keep it on the fairway will be the only ones with a chance. It is also worth noting that seven of the championship tees have been lengthened to add to the severity of the course that will no doubt bring a complete test of skill.”
When asked to speculate about this year’s champion, Brown shared his thoughts on who would have the advantage at Turnberry.
“I think this year we will see the straightest but not necessarily the longest hitter succeed. Avoiding the bunkers and rough is paramount to success. Only worthy champions at the peak of their powers succeed around Turnberry. Watson, Price and Norman are proof that only the world’s very best shine on the Ailsa course.”