Luke Donald, who finished T-37 at last year’s BMW Championship, said the course conditions have improved.
Last year’s course conditions at Cog Hill — site of the BMW Championship — had more than a few players grumbling. New greens, heavy rains and a hot summer left the No. 4 course (Dubsdread) in less-than-ideal shape.
But early indications for next week’s event, the third of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, are favorable.
Luke Donald, the Chicago resident currently ranked No. 4 in FedExCup points and No. 1 in the world, tweeted after playing at Cog Hill earlier this week that "players will enjoy the much better conditions."
The weather in the Chicago area this summer has again been challenging, with high humidity and temperature. But Scott Pavalko, who became the new golf course superintendent for the four courses at Cog Hill in April, said Dubsdread will be ready for next week.
"Fall is definitely a more difficult time to have a tournament," Pavalko told the Southtown Star. "It’s what you go through in a season that affects you. But this is what you do. A golf course superintendent gets paid to get (a course) through the summer."
Southtown Star golf reporter Tim Cronin, who interviewed Pavalko, wrote that:
"Last year’s bare spots on the fourth, seventh and 13th greens now are lush turf. The unrepaired ball marks that speckled the putting surfaces, a product of relatively new greens rejecting approach shots and kicking them far from their original contact point, are much fewer in number. Fairways are fine. The few collars that hadn’t come in properly a few weeks ago have been resodded." (Click for complete story)
Before arriving at Cog Hill, Pavalko had been the assistant superintendent at Muirfield Village — home of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance — for eight years. He also helped prepare Liberty National for The Barclays in 2009 and Riviera for the 2006 Nissan Open.
His mentors include Paul Latshaw at Muirfield Village, and Ken Lapp, who has spent the past 38 years at Cog Hill.
"Scott, Ken, and their staff worked tirelessly through the record summer heat and they have committed extra resources to elevate the condition of Cog Hill for this year’s BMW Championship," said Paul Vermeulen, the PGA TOUR’s Director of Agronomy.
Dubsdread features bentgrass tees, fairways and greens lined with oak trees and 3 1/2-inch-tall Kentucky bluegrass rough. The large, undulating greens are mowed at .105 inch and are rolling fast and smooth.
Dubsdread reopened the spring of 2009 after a 18-month, $5.2-million renovation led by Rees Jones that included new greens with Sub-Air aeration and moisture removal systems installed under all 19 greens (including the practice green), new tee complexes, reshaping of the fairways, a new risk-reward pond on No. 7, significant tree management, the repositioning and sculpting of all 98 bunkers, a new irrigation system, and additional drainage.