Wet weather a challenge for Kingsmill grounds crew as LPGA tourney tees off

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Play got underway today at the 2016 Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg. (Photos by Ty Hodges/WYDaily)
Play got underway today at the LPGA’s 2016 Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg. (Photos by Ty Hodges/WYDaily)

The LPGA’s 2016 Kingsmill Championship kicked off this morning with pristine course conditions at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg despite weeks of uncooperative weather preceding the tournament.

More than 30 grounds crew workers at Kingsmill Resort have been working since February to ensure the course is up to the level expected of the host of an LPGA tournament. However, bleak weather conditions this month left them scrambling to make the course playable.

“We just had a feeling the weather was going to be wet,” said Chad Adcock, golf maintenance supervisor at Kingsmill Resort. “We were in this weather pattern where it seemed like we were getting every storm that came across. The long-term forecast for May did not look good.”

To combat the expected moisture, Adcock and his grounds crew spent more than a week before the tournament placing surfactants — a substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid — on the greens and fairways to help move water through the soil to help maintain the course’s firmness.

By keeping the course “fast and firm,” balls will travel further down the fairways and on the greens, Adcock said, adding that professional golfers prefer this type of course because it usually results in lower scores. Such was the case today during the first morning of competition, as multiple players posted 18-hole scores in the mid-60s.

Despite their best efforts, the Kingsmill Resort grounds crew could not completely prevent the pooling of water. (Ty Hodges/WYDaily)
Despite their best efforts, the Kingsmill Resort grounds crew could not completely prevent the pooling of water.

“Overall, I think the course is playing pretty well considering the amount of rain we’ve had,” Adcock said.

However, he still has his work cut out for him. With rain in the forecast for this weekend, the Kingsmill Resort grounds crew will be working overtime to make sure the course remains in playable condition.

While the surfactants help mitigate some of the rain’s damage, water still finds ways to collect in pools throughout the course. This morning, cart paths located on rolling sections of the course had small pools of water lining the rough.

If so much rain falls that “casual” water begins pooling on the greens, fairways and tee boxes, Adcock and his crew will need to be prepared to clear up the hazards in accordance with LPGA rules.

He says they will battle the pooling water the old fashioned way, with large squeegees that push and soak up the water.

Despite the months of preparation and the work yet to come this weekend, Adcock said that watching the LPGA professionals tee off on his course makes the whole process worthwhile.

“It’s a prideful thing,” he said “It’s months of hard work and we get rewarded watching them play great golf.

“We want the course to test the very best. We enjoy watching them make great shots and seeing the creativity in their game. Their artwork is on our course.”