Getting En-Joie ready for Dick's Open
8/12/2013 (Updated 8/13/2013 9:04:08 AM)(Source: Jeremy Donovan)
In 1927, George F. Johnson wanted his workers to be able to enjoy an affordable round of golf. When En-Joie Golf Club first opened, a round of golf cost just 25 cents. In just a few days, the sports best will compete for significantly more than that.
While it may never host a major, thanks to the Dick's Sporting Goods Open and the defunct B.C. Open, En-Joie has hosted professional golf since 1967, and remains one of only a handful of public courses on the tour.
"It's great, because everyday during course of the summer somebody can come and play where the pros play," said Tournament Director John Karedes.
So what does it take to turn a public course into a PGA ready course? More attention to detail: faster greens, deeper bunkers, thicker rough. It starts months before the tournament but comes to a head the week before when the course is closed to the public.
"It's all about coming into the advance week, it's all about having healthy turf so that you're ready to run that marathon, everything's healthy," said En-Joie Superintendent Rocco Greco.
"The course needs it. The golf course has gotten beaten up throughout the course of the year, En-Joie has gotten a lot of play. This is great for the golf course, to be able to have no ball marks, no divots being repaired. It will make it that much better for the players next week," Karedes said.
But rest assured, all the work on the course is done by Greco and his crew.
"Sometimes I get questions, 'what do you and your crew do now that you have two weeks off because the tour comes in and takes over the course.' Everyone should know that it's the En-Joie Golf Course staff that gets the course ready and they deserve all the credit," Greco said.
And credit they received. The 2012 Dick's Open was given the President's Award as the best event on the Champions Tour. Not bad for a small course in Endicott.
"The expectations of a municipal golf course in Endicott, NY hosting a Champions Tour event aren't all that high I don't think," Greco said.
But the En-Joie crew and Dick's Open staff continue to exceed expectations year after year.
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