The PGA Tour returns to TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., where GCSAA Class A Golf Course Superintendent Tom Brodeur has overcome a series of agronomic challenges to present superb conditions for the second round of the 2010 FedExCup Playoffs, the Deutsche Bank Championship, Sept. 3-6.
"It has been a long and difficult summer for the maintenance team at TPC Boston and they certainly have had their fair share of challenges battling the unprecedented heat and humidity," said PGA Tour TPC Agronomy Director Collier Miller, CGCS. "Fortunately, Tom Brodeur has done a marvelous job guiding the course through the many agronomic challenges, including tremendous disease pressure and drought management, to have the golf course in good condition for the FedExCup Playoffs. In addition to an already very full plate, Tom has the newly designed areas on holes No. 2 and 3 in great shape for the competition. Tom's professionalism and many talents paid dividends this year and he has the golf course in the best shape possible."
Brodeur, a 29-year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), said, "It's always tough to get a golf course to peak at the end of a summer, when you're in a defensive mode. We've just played a little more defense than usual this year. We received hot weather early and it was unusually dry. We probably went six weeks with only an inch of rain, which is not normal here. But we managed our water carefully and got through it with a lot of hand watering. The consistent high dew points made it tricky with the high humidity, but beyond that we did pretty well. We had no major turf loss issues. We didn't bring the mow heights down (to get greens to tournament speed) until the last possible moment. Then we got 3 1/2 inches of rain in three days during advance week, so we went from being incredibly dry all summer to incredibly wet, but everything should dry up by the tournament."
Brodeur, who has been at TPC Boston since it was built in 2001, has worked with Hanse Golf Course Design on ongoing renovations since 2006. Updates to the par 71, 7,214-yard golf course this year include a new tee on No. 3 and a redesign of the No. 2 green complex and landing zone as part of TPC Boston's ongoing competitive enhancements. Mounds now line the left rough in the landing zone of the 542-yard, par-5 second hole and the new green is smaller, more undulated and positioned closer to the water in the front and right. A new pair of bunkers are left of the green along with a strategic mound protecting the front left.
"We essentially built a par 3 on No. 2, redoing everything from 150 yards in," Brodeur said. "It's a big change and it's real nice. The members love it and hopefully the players will too."
Brodeur has an associate's degree in turfgrass management from the University of Massachusetts. He has the bentgrass greens rolling 11 1/2 feet on the Stimpmeter and the Kentucky bluegrass/fescue rough 3 1/2 inches high. Brodeur also has TPC Boston certified in the AudubonSanctuary Program. TPC Boston is situated adjacent to a wetlands area, creating a unique environmental relationship in terms of water conservation and care, as well as wildlife cohabitation. Brodeur is a three-time GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards winner.
TPC Boston, which has hosted the Deutsche Bank Championship every year since 2003, has evolved since opening in 2002. It is situated on a 400-acre site formerly used for charcoal production, lumber and a gravel mine. All drainage from playing surfaces of the golf course and club grounds is returned to the surrounding wetlands via water quality swales. All irrigation water for TPC Boston is drawn from rock-lined wells on site.
As part of the evolving look and strategy of the golf course, TPC Boston has added many lower-maintenance native grass areas. These areas double as excellent habitat for many kinds of wildlife. From the beginning of TPC Boston, the development partnership deeded 155 acres from the original parcel of land to conservation trusts and connecting to conservation land managed by the Norton (Mass.) and Mansfield (Mass.) land preservation societies. The facility has 3,800 linear feet of wooden bridges crossing the 250 acres of wetlands found throughout the site.
GCSAA 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 more than 20,000 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. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org.