Oakland Hills Country Clubs South Course has made a meteoric rise in Golf Magazine’s World Top 100 Golf Course rankings as it celebrates the completion of an extraordinary restoration project and improved course conditioning by supporting Bernhard and Company.
The South Course at Oakland Hills has hosted 17 major golf championships in its illustrious history, including six U.S. Open, three PGA Championships and the 35ste Ryder Cup in 2004. The restoration project once again allowed the track to offer its originally intended style of play, with larger clean field landing areas and greens. This, coupled with pristine conditioning, has enabled the well-known track – nicknamed ‘The Monster’ – to rise a phenomenal and unparalleled 41 places in the new rankings, moving to 31st.st position.
After the renovation work carried out by renowned track architects, Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, Directory of Agronomy, Phil Cuffare, and his team of professional lawns were commissioned to elevate the conditioning on the South Course to its highest level ever. With state-of-the-art grinding equipment and educational support provided by Bernhard and Company, the team was able to work with great efficiency to pay attention to detail that reflects those of the very best courses in the world.
Cuffare said: “We are very excited about the recognition our famed South Course will receive after completing its extensive restoration. Bringing something that has been lost for so long to life is a wonderful feeling and we continue to express it through our conditioning efforts.
“The ultimate compliment to wonderful golf course architecture is excellent conditioning. As such, the most important aspect of our agronomic programs is grass health, and the cornerstone of achieving it is the use of our pulley and bed knife grinding machinery to sharpen cutting equipment used to maintain our fine grasslands.
“The ability to achieve the perfect cut in an efficient and precise way is what separates Bernhard and Company from others. We have very high expectations that must be met and Bernhard is the partner that helps us achieve those goals. ”
The project involved stripping the track largely back to the bare ground, to make way for a total overhaul. When managing the growth and health of the new lawn, it was more important than ever to ensure that all lawn mowing was carried out with perfectly sharp blades to prevent any damage to the young plants.
What’s more, each hole was covered with sand in traditional USGA specification, meaning mower blades were constantly exposed to sand damage. However, with the Bernhard and Company Express Dual 4250 Reel Grinder and Anglemaster 4500 Bedknife Grinder machines in the workshop, maintenance teams were able to grind blades as often as needed to ensure they were working at maximum efficiency as the track began to bloom.
The latest Golf Magazine Top 100 rankings confirm Bernhard and Company as the dominant grinder supplier to the world’s best courses. In addition to Oakland Hills, Bernhard & Company is also the official grinder supplier for more than half of the courses listed, including major championship venues around the world.
Impressively, Bernhard and Company machinery is used by 13 of the world’s top 20 jobs and seven of the top 10. For more information, visit www.bernhard.co.uk