Friday was round two of the Honda classic in Palm Beach Gardens. The players, spectators, volunteers and tournament staff all have their sights on golf but one man in particular has his eye on the grass.
His official title is Director of Agronomy, also known as the head grass grower. With millions of people watching this tournament, the course is literally in his hands.
“We use lots of data, we work with the PGA Tour all the time, every green throughout the morning, throughout the afternoon and after every play analyzing every little piece of the turf so that we can make adjustments to make things more consistent,” says Brad Nelson.
Every inch of the Champions Course must be perfect and when you’re opponent is Mother Nature you tend to lose sleep. That is why his job is a well oiled machine or in this case a well watered one. Everything matters from the amount of hoses used to the amount of debris out here.
“From blowing leaves or removing snakes from a rock wall like yesterday on hole number 11,” says Nelson.
When it’s time for the tournament every year, Nelson sees something different than you and I do when a Tour pro strikes the ball. He’s fixated on how the grass and sand fly and land.
A keen eye and a lot of experience have taken this man places. His terrain is this course and at the end of the day his job can affect the scoreboard which is why it doesn’t get any bigger than this for his career.
“This is our Super Bowl, this is it but it’s a seven day Super Bowl starting last Monday hoping your peaking on the weekend,” says Nelson.