Monday, October 25, 2010

My Week at CordeValle

A little over a year ago, my colleague and friend, Tom Gray , announced to me that CordeValle would be hosting next years Fry' tournament and that I would be changing cups for the event. I congratulated him on the event and really didn't think much of changing cups as it was so far out. A year later, I get a reminder from Tom that I will really be changing cups on the tournament front nine for the entire week. I was really excited for a few moments and then thought to myself; when was the last time I changed cups? Fortunately for me, changing cups is like riding a bike.

My schedule for the week of the event was Monday, Wednesday through Sunday from 4am to 8 which really turned out to be around 9:30am. Once I reported for work on Monday, I was paired with a gentleman from South Africa named Graham Collete. He and I would be cup changing partners for the entire week. Come to find out, Graham is the Director of resort properties at the famous Fancourt resort in South Africa (Fancourt and CordeValle share the same owner).

Monday's cups were very easy as we had no instruction to how the PGA wanted to change cups. In the afternoon of the same day, we got instruction from Tom Brown who was the on-site agronomist for the PGA tour. Never in my life did I think changing cups would involve so much work. He picked me out of the group to teach by example and show everybody the right and wrong ways to change cups. I did surprisingly well but I hadn't been that nervous before standing in front of my professional peers in a long time.

The special things we had to do for changing cups were to:

- Trim the inside of the cup with finger nail scissors to remove any wayward grass blades
- Put a cover over the cup cutter during transport to avoid damaging or dulling the cup cutter
- Place the tool bag on a towel vs. setting on the green
- Any loose sand deposited on the green was to be blown off; not wiped off by hand
- All cup cutters were to be sharpened at the end of each day
All items mentioned are because of previous experience or player complaints and most intricacies of a PGA event come from the latter.

Everything with cups, at least on my side, went exceptionally well. The back nine boys put the cup on 18 in the wrong spot Thursday and I am sure they are still getting grief from Tom about that.

While I learned a lot about cups and how the PGA sets up their courses, I learned much more from Tom Gray and his staff on how to host an event. These guys worked from 3:30 am until 11 at night for seven straight days and were running on fumes, but all involved stepped up to the task. I have spent a handful of days with Tom on his course in the past and aside from the hours, nothing was different the week of the event. It was a well oiled machine that I can only hope to imitate in my career.

Now that the tournament is over, Tom and his staff get to get ready for the PAC-10 tournament in two weeks. No rest, but that is what you sign up for at a club like CordeValle. Congratulations to all involved!