Golf News for Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Courses

Rick Slattery has Locust Hill golf course ready for LPGA Championship

Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Class A Superintendent Rick Slattery and his staff faced several challenges presented by a cold spring and changes requested by the LPGA to Locust Hill Country Club for the LPGA Championship presented by Wegmans June 24-27 in Pittsford, N.Y.

Slattery and his staff met those challenges and have achieved great results in preparing for the second major of the LPGA's season.

"Rick and his staff have worked very hard all spring to prepare Locust Hill for the LPGA Championship," said GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent John Miller, LPGA Tour agronomist. "They have added tees and narrowed a few fairways working in the cold spring weather to get ahead of the curve. All of this work paid off as the later part of the spring was very wet. The added tees have grown in very well thanks to all of the work Rick and his staff have done. If they had waited, they would be behind the eight ball rushing to get things done. Locust Hill is in excellent condition and Rick has been a pleasure to work with."

The LPGA charged Slattery to implement changes to Locust Hill this past March to present the players with a few different wrinkles at Locust Hill than in the past and make the major more challenging. Two new tees were built and four more were expanded and leveled, lengthening four holes. The landing areas were narrowed on 10 holes and Slattery and his staff achieved those changes in just two months.

"The goal was to make these changes look like they have been a part of the golf course all along and not just a couple months," said Slattery, who has an associate's degree in turfgrass management from the University of Massachusetts. "The changes blended quite well and the LPGA is very happy with how everything turned out. Fans might not even notice the changes, but the players will."

The biggest changes were made to holes No. 1 and 10, with 30 yards added to each. Holes No. 3, 4 and 14 had 20 yards added; holes No. 9 and 17 added 10 yards; 7 yards was added to No. 11 and about 5 yards was added to No. 18.

"No. 10 could potentially be the most difficult hole now," said Slattery, a 25-year GCSAA member who has been at Locust Hill for the past 16 years. "It's hard to say how it will play because the landing area is changed now, but there is a ridge crossing the fairway that they used to hit past and it would kick out tee shots toward the green, leaving an 8 or 9 iron to the green. Now with the 30 extra yards and a narrowed landing area bringing the fairway bunker back into play, hitting the tee side of that ridge will kill ball roll and leave a much further second shot to a two-tiered green."

Slattery has the bentgrass greens smooth and rolling 12 feet on the Stimpmeter. The Kentucky bluegrass/perennial ryegrass/fine fescue rough is 2 1/2 inches tall. He has Locust Hill registered in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program and working toward certification. Slattery uses minimal inputs on the golf course and has only used 12 percent of the water that most nearby golf facilities have used this year for irrigation.

The par-72, 6,504-yards Locust Hill was designed by Seymour Dunn in 1927 and renovated by Ron Pritchard in 1999-2000. Slattery, his assistant superintendents Andrew Eick and Brent Lewis, and their staff of 19 will receive help from 10 volunteers per shift the week of the tournament, made up of fellow superintendents, assistant superintendents and vendors.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America 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 20,000 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:
Rick Slattery, Locust Hill Country Club golf course superintendent, 585-427-7060, ricks@rochester.rr.com