The low scoring at this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung can be attributed as much to the skill of the professionals taking part as to the quality of the greens at the Vaal de Grace course.
The Sunshine Tour’s professionals have been very complimentary about the greens, which are attended to by greenkeeper Scott Crookes and his team. And Crookes is “green” himself, having only been in the job for a month-and-a-half.
Crookes has no formal qualification in the art of greenkeeping, all the more remarkable when you consider how true they are running here this week.
“I never studied and I’m not a golfer … I just like grass,” said Crookes. “We work very hard to get them where we want them. It’s about spraying the right chemicals at the right time. Also, we had good rains the past weekend, around 85 millimeters, and that helped a lot. The course is in great condition for this time of year. We must now make sure we keep it like that.”
Many of the players have been glowing in their praise for the condition of the greens.
Botswana’s Stuart Smith, who shot a superb nine-under-par 63 in Friday’s second round to move to seven-under for the tournament, described the greens as “amazing”.
“They are rolling really nicely and are so receptive. The good rains obviously helped, but the greenkeeper and his guys have done a fantastic job,” said Smith.
Jacquin Hess, co-leader at eight-under par after the first round, agreed.
“The greens here are brilliant. They are the only reason I’m playing so well,” said Hess.
Jean Hugo, chasing his 11th Vodacom Origins of Golf title, was just as complimentary about the putting surfaces here this week.
“They are just amazing greens to putt on so you can hole them from anywhere,” he said.
The other first-round co-leader, Drikus van der Walt, described the greens as “flawless” and Jaco Ahlers said they are exactly what professional golfers look forward to.
“You want to putt on good greens and these are really good greens. With surfaces like this, you can make good scores,” said Ahlers.