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Open Organisers Thankful For Wet Weather

Dry spell hampered preparation for this year's Open

Posted Jun 22, 2011 by Chris White

The famous Open rough has posed issues for even the top players

The early summer dry spell that now seems so long ago had ground staff at the Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent working around the clock to keep the course looking in as good a condition as possible. Unlike the England cricket team, who would have liked the rain to have stayed away over the past three weeks, the hosts of this year’s Open Championship have welcomed the recent unsettled weather.

One of the features that has become so iconic of the Open is players searching for stray balls in the long rough of the British courses, but the recent dry spell had meant the grass had only reached about ankle height. Average rainfall in Britain between March and May is 5.8 inches, but only 1.3 inches fell on the course, which had the ground staff scrambling for the sprinklers.

The club is allowed to extract water from the nearby River Stour, and including water from the river and the course’s own water supply, over two and a half million gallons of water had been used on the course. The recent spell of unsettled weather has meant that staff are not using as much water on the rough, fairways, tees and greens, which is certainly a relief to the bill payer at the club – they have already used around half of it’s annual allowance!

But head green keeper Graham Roydon isn’t too worried about the dry course, instead focussing on getting it as good as it can be for the next major. "This is the pinnacle of my career -something I've worked towards for the last 27 years as a green keeper. It will be a very proud moment when I stand there on the Sunday and see the champion presented with the trophy," he said.

The course was closed to the public on 20th June, which is earlier than normal, allowing the staff to focus their efforts on preparing the course for the newly crowned US Open champion Rory McIlroy and co.

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