27east.com did an extensive interview with Garret Bodington, the superintendent of Sebonack Golf Club in Southhampton. Sebonack will host the 2013 US Women’s Open – a first for course.
First, The Press asks about Bodington’s resume. He certainly has the experience to setup a course for professional tournament play.
Question: Tell me a bit about your background and where you’ve worked in the past before coming to Sebonack.
Garret Bodington: I started working at golf courses when I was 12 years old, and I worked 10 summers in the pro shop growing up in a town like Southampton, called Little Compton, Rhode Island. I worked at my first tournament golf course at Desert Mountain in Carefree, Arizona, and I was there during the 1996 Tradition, which was the last major that Jack Nicklaus won. And I was at Augusta National in the winter of 1996-97, and that’s when [Tiger Woods] won his first major. I worked full time there that winter, and I also worked there as a volunteer for the 1999 Masters. After the 1997 Masters, I went to Long Island to work at Meadowbrook, when they had a Senior Tour event there. Then I went to work at Bethpage in the fall of 1997, and I was part of the renovation of the Black course in preparation for the 2002 men’s Open.
So my resume, before I came to Sebonack, was definitely geared toward tournament setup. For the 2002 U.S. Open, I was the Black course superintendent under Craig Courrier, and ran the Black on a day-to-day basis.
My boss, Craig, and I, we looked at the way they ran the Masters, because in the golf industry, it’s the best-run tournament there is, so when you’re hosting a tournament, you want to mimic the best. We outlined the Black course prep similar to the Masters, dealing with how to be prepared for rain events, playoffs, and changing conditions on a day-to-day basis.
Here are some interesting tidbits about the course setup and prep.
The only difference between a men’s and women’s event, from the superintendent’s perspective, is the speed and firmness of the greens. Women tend to hit the ball lower than men, so you don’t want the greens to be too firm. We’ll probably start off the week of the tournament with the speed at 12 on the stintmeter. We’ve had a lot of women play here, and that’s a good speed. If [the USGA] feels during the week that they want to raise it to 13, we can. In that case, you don’t put down as much water, you dry the greens out a bit. In the mornings, we may cut the greens a few times based on what the target is.
Bodington next muses on the type the play who might have success at Sebonack.
Q: What type of game or type of player will be most successful at Sebonack?
GB: Here at Sebonack, the course setup is such that we’re going to play much longer than a traditional women’s Open. We will play up to 7,000 yards, which will be the longest women’s Open. The fairways here are twice as wide as the traditional U.S. Open course. So it might favor a longer hitter who is not as accurate. Women golfers are usually very accurate off the tee. So it might favor someone who is less accurate but maybe a better putter. I’d say it would favor a person who is a better putter and can hit it farther.
Read the full story here… Bodington talks about re-routing the course and more.