By Golf Monthly
Following on from the modernisation and refinements under guidance of Ernie Els in 2006, Wentworth now has the opportunity to reconstruct and modernise all the greens on the West Course to a USGA specification replacing the current poa greens with colonial bent grass. This is the next stage of the journey that we started in 2006 so as to ensure the classic West Course remains an exceptional challenge to both today’s amateur and professional golfer.
In making this announcement, Wentworth can provide the following quotations:
Richard Caring, Chairman, Wentworth Club
“As soon as we had the opportunity we immediately went into consultation with our partners in the European Tour and experts in the industry to commence the project. By May 2010 we will have, in my opinion, the best greens in Great Britain. Professional golf tournaments have played a huge part in the history of Wentworth and with these changes we know we will be able to present a fitting test in the future whilst providing our members year-round access to one of the finest inland golf courses in the world.”
George O'Grady, Chief Executive, The European Tour
“The BMW PGA Championship is deservedly recognised as the Players’ Flagship event on The European Tour International Schedule. We are proud that Wentworth Club and the classic West Course have been its home for each of the last 25 years. The project to seriously upgrade the greens reflects the commitment of Richard Caring to further build on the inspirational course changes suggested by Ernie Els and already implemented by Julian Small, Chris Kennedy and all the team at Wentworth Club. Now we look forward to The European Tour’s long and close partnership with Wentworth Club further developing the BMW PGA Championship and all our players being proud to compete in this prestigious event.”
“When Richard Caring first gave us the green light to modernise and refine the West Course, I think it’s fair to say we all felt that constructing new greens was high on the menu, so to speak. In the end it came down to timing – you know, having the right window of opportunity to carry out these major works. Now we’ve got a chance to bring the greens up to the standard of the rest of the golf course - and by that, I mean world class. It’s exciting to be a part of these ongoing improvements to the West Course. Ever since I first started coming here, I’ve always felt this is one of the best golf courses in the world – now it’ll have some of the best greens, too.”
Magnus Wiese, Head of BMW Golfsports Marketing
“When embarking upon our sponsorship of the PGA Championship in 2005, we recognised the important role Wentworth Club played in the heritage of the tournament. In conjunction with our partners from the European Tour and Wentworth, our aim has been to consistently improve the quality and experience for all participants. Back in February 2006 Wentworth and Ernie Els completed the course refinements to enhance the bunkering and extend some of the holes on the West and we are delighted that, the Club has now taken the decision to modernise and upgrade the greens. We believe this clearly demonstrates their commitment to the future of the BMW PGA Championship.”
Neil Mutton, Club Captain, Wentworth Club
“The West course has been and always will be very special to the members. The management have given a great deal of thought to this project. Overall I believe the members will see the wholesale upgrading of the greens as another illustration of Richard Caring's long-term commitment to the Club and a way of ensuring that it maintains the status as one of the finest golf & country clubs in the world.”
Chris Kennedy, Courses Manager, Wentworth Club
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for some time and I’m very pleased that the opportunity has now arisen. We recognise that the Harry Colt greens constructed in 1926 do not perform as well as new USGA specification greens.
Now that we have the chance to address the issue the objective is to produce a consistent surface of the highest quality on every green on the West Course. When embarking on this project we have worked together with top agronomists from the Sports Turf Research Institute and the European Tour. We chose colonial bent grass for the greens, not just for tournament play but for general play all year round. Working closely with Ernie Els we will also review each green so as to ensure that they become a fitting test for the modern day golfer whilst staying true to Harry Colt’s original vision. Whilst the course is closed we will also be carrying out further work on the fairways, tees, bunkers on the West so as to ensure we have taken every opportunity to improve all possible aspects.”
Julian Small, Chief Executive, Wentworth Club
“We always aim to have exceptional standards of quality here at Wentworth and the West Course is clearly one of our major assets. We’ve selected the time to do this work very carefully so as to ensure that we can hold the BMW PGA Championship here in 2009. We will then start the work, carrying it out at the right time of year so as to be as quick and efficient as possible and minimise disruption to our members.
We aim to open the course solely for member and guest play in the latter part of 2009 and we are confident that we will be in a position to have the West Course greens in excellent condition for the 2010 BMW PGA Championship. During the period of closure we will not have any visitor or group play on any of our 3 courses so as to offer exclusive access to our members at all times.”
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