New-look Harding for Presidents Cup


Sean Dudley

Wayne Kappelman, superintendent at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco, has completed a three-year renovation of the course in preparation for the Presidents Cup, which will take place there between 8-11 October.

A bunker renovation completed this year not only replaced drainage and sand, but re-sodded all the bunker edges and installed additional irrigation. Kappelman also re-sodded the collars around all of the greens, lowering the soil to the same level as each green to remove any lip that had formed. Over the past six months, along with aggressive overseeding, 35 trees have been removed – mostly Monterrey Pines and Monterrey Cypress stricken with disease.

At one stage during the renovation process, nine of the greens suffered fertiliser burn as a result of human operator error. Because of this, temporary greens had to be used for five of the greens that were closed for repair.

“It has been blown out of proportion a little,” Kappelman said of the mistake. “It was repaired within a week. All 18 greens are in great shape and the whole course is where it should be. Every course has something happen, this was just unfortunate timing. It seems that to dwell on those issues would discredit the three years of preparation and hard work. After everything that has gone into getting ready for this event, it seems rather minor in comparison.”

The bentgrass has thrived during a good year of weather. The Kentucky bluegrass/perennial ryegrass/fine fescue rough is three inches high and the bentgrass/Poa annua greens will be rolling 11.5 feet on the Stimpmeter.

“For the past three years the PGA Tour agronomy staff has worked closely with Wayne and his team at Harding Park to prepare this beautiful and historic venue for the 2009 Presidents Cup,” said Cal Roth, PGA Tour senior vice president, agronomy. “Although certainly challenging due to the very popular and always busy facility, Wayne has remained diligent in his efforts to incorporate all of our requests for required turf management programmes, staff development, and landscape improvements. Wayne remains positive at all times and creates an upbeat atmosphere for his staff to meet the challenges of preparing for this prestigious event. We are grateful to the city of San Francisco for all it has done to help make this year’s tournament a success.”