Delaware Valley University (DelVal) alumni and students are helping to prepare the grounds of the Saucon Valley Country Club (SVCC) in preparation for the U.S. Senior Open Golf Tournament on June 23-26.
Jim Roney, a DelVal alumnus and director of grounds at SVCC, connected with the university’s turf management professor, Dr. Doug Linde, to help gather workers and volunteers for the event. Roney is responsible for managing the event’s entire grounds staff. There will be approximately 80 individuals working each day including SVCC employees, some of which are DelVal alumni, and volunteers who include current DelVal students and alumni.
“I feel very fortunate that DelVal is a part of a major golf tournament from the grounds perspective. It gives students a chance to experience what it takes to prepare for a professional tournament. I’ve been strongly encouraging students to be an intern or volunteer this summer. Jim Roney has been such a strong supporter of the DelVal Turf Program over the years and I do my best to supply students and graduates for him,” said Linde.
DelVal’s turf management program prepares students for careers as golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, grounds managers, researchers, educators and industry professionals. Staying true to DelVal’s belief in experiential learning, students and alumni will get the SVCC golf course ready to play while developing relationships with other professionals in the golf industry. Preparation to host the U.S. Senior Open Golf Tournament begins many years in advance. The United States Golf Association (USGA) runs the tournament and suggests changes to the golf course holes and/or maintenance program in order to deliver the type of golf course they want the players to play.
Volunteers are necessary to provide high-quality playing surfaces during tournament week. During the tournament, DelVal students and alumni, will do things such as fill every divot with sand, hand-rake each bunker, fluff high grass that became laid over from tires, etc. In addition, the early start times for the tournament make it impossible for the normal crew to prepare all holes before play begins.
In addition, preparations must be made at SVCC to accomodate a large number of spectators, hospitality tents, special sponsor events, the media, safety of all attendees, and television cameras and their related gear. A few months prior to the event, the grounds staff began adjusting maintenance practices so that when tournament week arrives the turfgrass and sand bunkers will be in the condition that is desired by the tournament directors of USGA.