Bellerive’s Greens Cause For Concern

The Midwest of the United States has endured a brutal summer and Bellerive Country Club will likely receive some criticism this week for factors that were largely outside of its control. 

As the golf world descends upon St. Louis this week, players, fans and media were greeted by a well-conditioned golf course at Bellerive on Monday, but the course’s large green complexes left some folks scratching their heads as to why a major championship venue would have patchy or burnt out greens. 

The fact of the matter is that a record-setting summer combined with A-4 bent grass on the putting surfaces make it extremely difficult to maintain perfect conditions throughout the course. On Monday, the PGA of America posted a flier in the players’ locker room explaining that because of temperature and humidity, the greens are not being cut to tournament speed until the championship begins.

“The course is actually in really good shape,” Billy Horschel said. “The greens are a little slow. There’s not a lot of root system to them, so I don’t think they can get them to what we are accustomed in a major championship — really fast, firm greens. They roll fine. I hope they just keep them at this speed, I think it’ll be fine. I think if they try to stress them too much, that’s when we could see greens just not be healthy and not be true out there. We’ll see what the PGA does.”

“The greens are going to speed up a little bit, they’re not going to get anything crazy,” Brandt Snedeker echoed. “The heat and humidity this time of year, you can’t risk losing them by Sunday.”

It should be pointed out that Bellerive has halted member play on days when temperatures reach 90°, according to Golfweek.com. They’ve also used temporary greens for the past few months in an effort to make the surfaces as good as possible for the pros this week, including during the club’s member-guest tournament earlier this summer.

As for the membership, Carlos Arraya, director of grounds and agronomy at Bellerive Country Club, said he has free reign from the membership to take the course to the edge to create the best championship possible for the PGA of America.

In a show of good faith, Golfweek.com also reports that the PGA of America has picked up member dues for July and August. 

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