JEJU, Oct. 18 (Korea Bizwire) – After 20 years of golf course maintenance at the PGA Tour, Dennis Ingram has seen it all, which is why his words describing the Nine Bridges Course in Seogwipo, Jeju — the site where South Korea’s first ever PGA Tour tournament will be held — to be in “top-notch condition” are sure to be a source of comfort to organizers and participants alike.
Not that his opinion of the course was always as glowing; when Ingram first arrived on August 1 and stepped out for a tour of the grounds, the high levels of humidity and harsh Jeju summer heat had done their damage to the course.
“The greens were, in a word, a mess. The fairway had pit holes here and there, and the course employees had no idea what to do about it,” Ingram recalled.
Joking that his hair had turned grey from the ordeal, Ingram recounted how he and 80 others began the arduous task of turning ‘the mess’ into a championship tournament appropriate platform, a daily process which took three months to complete.
He mentioned that the bunkers and the ‘rough’ lining the fairway were modified during their preparations.
Specifically, the bunkers were made deeper, raising the difficulty level, while the height of the grass in the rough was grown to a minimum 10 cm.
Despite efforts to make the course more challenging, Ingram asserted that overall, the Nine Bridges course was a comparatively easy one.
“By virtue of it being a resort golf course, raising the difficulty level is not easy. Not only is the fairway wide, but thanks to rainy weather recently, the greens are very smooth,” said Ingram, predicting that there would be “a flood of low scores”. “It won’t be surprising to see participants with scores of 11 under par in the first round,” he added.
On the eve of the CJ Cup Tournament, Ingram is satisfied with the work he and others have done. “There won’t be any issues raised regarding the greens,” he stated with confidence.
Born next door to one of the preeminent golf courses in the world, the Pinehurst Golf Club, Ingram majored in marine biology at university, but his postgraduate footsteps led him back to the green expanses of the golf course.
He credits the proximity of his childhood home to Pinehurst as a major reason for being in his current profession of 30 years. Before joining the PGA Tour, Ingram spent a decade doing the same work on courses in Thailand and Jamaica.