• Course manager Chris Haspell over at Chambers Bay
• Offering his expertise in fine fescue management
• Wants to spread the word about Castle Stuart Golf Links
CASTLE STUART | US OPEN
While millions of golf fans follow the fortunes of the world’s best players at the US Open this week, a leading Scottish course manager’s focus will be more grounded.
Chris Haspell, the course manager at the internationally-renowned Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness, is playing a leading role in the preparation and management of Chambers Bay in Washington State due to his specialist expertise in fine fescue management.
When some of the Chambers Bay greens became slowly contaminated with other grasses in 2013, it was decided to overseed the course with fescue which is slow-growing, requires less water and fertiliser and is less prone to disease.
"I hope the course will play more links style and be a good challenge for them" - Chris Haspell
It also provides a faster, truer roll and does not ‘grab’ the golf ball like other types of grass. It is said to suit Chambers Bay which is similar to a links course because it is built on sand near the sea and has firm playing surfaces that give golfers the option to ‘run’ shots rather than fly them to the green.
“I will hope to bring experience in fescue grass management, as well as tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy plant in stress conditions to the US Open,” said Chris.
“Josh Lewis and Eric Johnson, the golf course superintendent and director of agronomy at Chambers Bay, are good friends and they deserve to have success with this event and if I can play a small part that will be fantastic.
“The fescue grass has never been played on before at a major in the US so it will be interesting to see what the players think. I hope the course will play more links style and be a good challenge for them.”
At the Scottish Open, which has been hosted by Castle Stuart in three of the past four years, Chris works with his small team with the addition of around 20 volunteers. But at the US Open, there will be an army of around 170 volunteers and staff and Chris hopes to spread the word about Castle Stuart, which was created using fescue grass.
“I will be forging links with people from around the world which will help build more awareness of Castle Stuart and the Highlands in general,” Chris added. “The more people who learn about what we can offer in the Highlands, including our work on fescue management, the better.”