Mild winter aids Bay Hill prep


Sean Dudley

Bay Hill superintendent Matt Beaver says that preparing for this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational was slightly easier than normal, due to favourable weather in the runup to the tournament.

“It was a mild winter down here with warmer temperatures that were ideal to get us ready,” said Beaver. “Now we’re a little cooler which works out just great. If we can just get that rain to hold off, we’ll be in perfect shape.”

Beaver also credits his range of Jacobsen for helping his team to present the course in the desired condition for Tiger Woods to try and defend his title. The crew uses Eclipse walking mowers on the greens, Eclipse 322 and GP-400 riding mowers on tees and approaches and SLF-1880 mowers on fairways. The roughs, left to grow to three and a half inches for the tournament, are typically trimmed by Jacobsen’s AR-522 rotary mowers. The sprawling greens should be fast and firm all week.

“Of course we depend on the Eclipse mowers for the Arnold Palmer Invitational but they give us flexibility throughout the year,” said Beaver. “We had a juniors tournament in the heat of the summer and we adjusted the frequency-of-clip settings to allow us to mow at .135 inches and stimp at 12 feet.”

“Matt’s doing a great job and continues to do well out there,” said club owner and tournament host Arnold Palmer.