Golf News for Friday, September 14, 2007 | People

McMaster prepares Royal Montreal GC's Blue Course for tourney

For the first time, the Presidents Cup comes to Canada and The Royal Montreal Golf Club's Blue Course Sept. 27-30. Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Class A member Blake McMaster, course and property manager, has been preparing for the event for years.

In 2004, McMaster changed to L-93 bentgrass on the greens in an effort to counter the region's narrow window for growing grass. Because of the short season, he had a local sod producer grow the L-93 on a USGA greens mix, and then they sodded the greens. For more details on his preparations for the event, read the Front Nine story in the September issue of Golf Course Management magazine.

The Presidents Cup is a semi-annual match play event between teams from the United States and the rest of the world (sans Europe). This is the first time the Cup will ever be played in Canada. McMaster has prepped for the PGA Tour's Canadian Open twice at The Royal Montreal Golf Club in 2001 and 1997.

“The scale is dramatically different from other golf events, even our Open,” said McMaster. “Just the space they need and the amount of time they need ... the PGA Tour has had advance people on site for two years. The infrastructure started going up on June 1. Having a championship course is one thing; having space for the infrastructure for the needs of the media, the PGA Tour and the corporate facilities is another.”

A 22-year GCSAA member, McMaster has been at The Royal Montreal Golf Club since 1995. Previously, he served as golf course superintendent at Brampton (Ontario) Golf Club from 1975-1995 and golf course superintendent at Gormley (Ontario) Green Golf Club in 1974. He has an associate’s degree in turf science from the University of Guelph in Ontario.

The Royal Montreal Golf Club was founded in 1873, making it the oldest golf club in North America. Permission was granted by Queen Victoria to use the "Royal" prefix in 1884. The par 70, 7,153-yard Blue Course continues to be ranked as one of the "100 Greatest Courses in the World" and was voted 12th best course in Canada by Scoregolf readers in 2006. The Royal Montreal Golf Club has hosted the Canadian Open nine times. Its bluegrass/fescue rough stands nearly four inches tall and the bentgrass greens are measuring 10.5-11 feet on the stimpmeter.

GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 21,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. The association’s philanthropic organization, The Environmental Institute for Golf, works to strengthen the compatibility of golf with the natural environment through research grants, support for education programs and outreach efforts. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org.

For more information contact:
Blake McMaster, The Royal Montreal Golf Club course and property manager, at 514-626-8803 or rmgc@axess.com