SAUCIER, Miss. (WLOX) - The PGA Tour’s Rapiscan Systems Classic is only two weeks away. But before players like Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomery and Bernhard Langer take to Fallen Oak Golf Course, crews are busy getting things ready.
The quiet sounds that one usually associates with a championship golf course are being interrupted by the sound of workers preparing the course.
Workers began building the grandstands for spectators two weeks ago. There will be seating for about 12 hundred under 25,000 square feet of tents.
“The past couple of weeks, the tent company has been putting up all these structures on the course, laying them out,” said Matt Hughes, Director of Grounds at Fallen Oak. “Then we go around marking all the irrigation lines so they can avoid hitting them, so it’s been an exciting couple of weeks leading up to it.”
Making sure the fans are comfortable is only part of the preparation. Having the course in top shape is a year-round job that has its biggest test when the pros step into the tee box.
“Our maintenance staff has done an excellent job this year of preparing the golf course,” Hughes said, “and we had a really mild winter this year so that really helped out a lot too.
“The most important side is the agronomy side— how do we prepare the greens to hose a major event out here? So we look at major applications that we do to the greens out here, whether that’s wetting agents, fertilizer applications, pesticide applications. Then we start talking about mowing, which is probably the most important thing we do each and every day,” he said.
The one factor out of the organizers’ control is the weather, but at this point, things are looking good.
"The long-term forecast looks great right now, Hughes said. “Temperatures this week and next week look really good and you’ll probably see the grass starting to green up come tournament week.”
“The tournament is in its 11th year at Fallen Oak, so preparations have become a little bit easier, but workers are staying on their toes,” Hughes said.
Leading up to the event, there is a long checklist that needs to be tended to, according to Hughes.
Events open to the public begin with the Pro-Am on Thursday, March 26 at 7 a.m., with Tournament play beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday March 27 through 29 at Fallen Oak Golf Course.