This is the year the USGA was supposed to get the U.S. Open right. After last years rules fiasco with DJ at Oakmont and of course the Chambers Bay greens debacle in 2015, Erin Hills is a place to start fresh. However, players already started expressing their displeasure with the set up upon arrival, most notably about the fescue which was only a few yards off the generously wide fairways. On Tuesday, America’s golf governing body surprised everybody when they made the executive decision to cut back the fescue along four holes (4, 12, 14, 18) of the 7,741-yard track.
On No. 12, close to 10 yards were mowed down on the left side of the fairway, one of the areas that was catching a fair amount of tee shots. Moreover, instead of serving as a de facto penalty, the new first cut of fescue is tamable, as players are able to advance their shots with relative ease.
The par-5 14th likewise saw trimming, with a team of 30 working on the hole’s right side. The edging was particularly interesting, as the surface in question is a collection area for those seeking to lay-up. Erin Hills’ 18th likewise had a fair share of fescue cut, astonishing given the hole’s fairway width.
— Golfdom (@Golfdom) June 13, 2017
Speaking with GolfDigest.com, the USGA director of championship agronomy Darin Bevard said this was a plan that’s been in place for awhile and was not a response to player complaints. The fescue has not been totally tamed, is still thick, formidable and capable of causing havoc in a multitude of areas.
“It’s a small area that we’re talking about,” Bevard said, regarding the trimming.
The USGA could not comment if there will be further fescue mowing this week, although Bevard said the course’s current set-up is what should be expected for tournament play.
With the weather forecast calling for more rain, it appears the USGA isn’t taking any chances.
The grounds crew at Erin Hills were busy on Tuesday cutting down the fescue on a few holes. pic.twitter.com/JNuqDay4jV
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 13, 2017
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