We are just over the first day of the 14th Portugal Masters in Victoria Golf Course (Arnold Palmer design). 5 Portuguese played under Par yesterday.
This is a great opportunity to interview Rui Grave, Head Greenkeeper at Dom Pedro Golf about the 14th Portugal Masters.
How did COVID-19 restrict your build up to the event?
The team has been restricted for the last 5 months, so it been difficult to prepare for the tournament in just 4-5 weeks since it was confirmed.
We have had the full team working since, working long hours early in the morning and late and night in preparation.
Although COVID-19 has been positive in some respects by giving us the time to let the rough grow and have less footfall on the course, we have had to work very hard for the last month.
Will the score be higher this year?
The rough is much more difficult, however, the fairways and greens are still large. Therefore if a player is hitting lots of fairways, then low scores are still possible, especially with quick greens.
What agronomy innovation do you utilize in 2020?
We now have tools and data that enable us to measure the softness, speed, and quality of the golf course, especially the greens.
This type of software enables us to measure the performance of the course when rain falls, when water is applied or when we have a dry period – it’s extremely helpful when setting up a golf course for tournament standard.
The data measures performance daily, and therefore any green which needs an additional resource can be treated differently to others.
How do you see the future of the greenkeeper profession?
I think new technology is helping the future of greenkeeping. Now with these tools, it can be determined exactly what the state of the greens is and what impact factors such as more or less water will have.
It therefore will be easier to make decisions about how quick to have them for tournaments. It enables greenkeepers to prepare for busy and quit periods, providing a sound surface as often as possible.
Greenkeepers still have to work early in the morning, and late at night – this will not change due to avoiding sunlight however technology will create more efficient and successful practices.
Thank you, Craig Murray (Performance54) for initiating and organizing this interview.