Travis Pauley, GCSAA Class A golf course superintendent at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J., is hoping to catch a break from Mother Nature for The Barclays, the first event of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup, Aug. 25-28.
"This year has been especially difficult in the Northeast,” said GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent Dennis Ingram, PGA Tour agronomist. "Travis and his greens committee took a less is more approach this summer by not really pushing the envelope on green speeds and mowing heights. That discipline helped the bentgrass greens survive the high heat and humidity in July. Now we're basically where we need to be with heights, but with 9 inches of rain in the last 10 days we haven't been able to get the speeds and firmness desired yet. Hopefully the course can dry out a little bit and we can get back on schedule, but it looks like Mother Nature isn't cutting us a break, with more rain likely on the way."
Pauley is a 13-year GCSAA member and has been at Plainfield since 2005. He was an assistant superintendent at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., for four years prior to that. Pauley has a bachelor's degree in turfgrass science from Ohio State University. He oversees a staff of 28, including GCSAA members Tim Meyer, Rob McClay, Mike Bowley, and Jason Kahr, the assistant superintendents.
"Travis is a relatively young superintendent," Ingram said. "He is one of the up and coming superstars in the Northeast when it comes to agronomic abilities."
Pauley has the bentgrass greens mowed at .095 inch and rolling smooth. The 3 1/2-inch rough is a combination of Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue.
Plainfield Country Club was founded in 1890 and is known for its golf course designed by Donald Ross in 1916 that is known as the Green Monster. It hosted the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open and the 1978 U.S. Amateur.
"When I took the job six years ago, I would've never guessed that six years later we'd be having this tournament," Pauley told the New Jersey Star-Ledger in a story published Aug. 15. "It's a tight property, lots of trees, and knowing the history, that it was going to be a challenge to get an event here. But the club recognized the things that needed to happen."
Plainfield has undergone an extensive restoration and renovation program over the past 10 years, involving the removal of more than 1,200 trees, the rediscovery of a number of lost bunkers covered in prior years, expansion of 16 greens, and the lengthening of 12 tees.
Pauley is excited about the opportunity to host the event and is hopeful that they can avoid any additional rain in order to present the golf course the way he and his staff have worked so hard to prepare.
"It's a big feather in anybody's cap," Pauley told the Star-Ledger. "There are very few golf courses in the country that have held a tour event. And there's not a lot of superintendents out there that have had this opportunity. Just think through New Jersey — how many clubs have held an event like this? Ridgewood, Baltusrol, Liberty National. That's it. There's not many places that get to have events like this, so it's something special to get to do it."
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to 19,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. The association's philanthropic organization, The Environmental Institute for Golf, works to strengthen the compatibility of golf with the natural environment through research grants, support for education programs and outreach efforts. Find GCSAA on Facebook, follow GCSAA on Twitter, and visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org.