Getting The Course Back In Play

Work of Superintendent McNulty, Staff, Volunteers Allows Women’s Amateur To Resume On Schedule


By David Shefter, USGA


Gladwyne, Pa. – If anyone saw the condition of Philadelphia Country Club at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, they might have thought it would take a miracle to get the William Flynn-designed course back in shape by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.


The greenside bunker at the ninth hole was virtually unplayable after Tuesday's rain. But the maintenance staff was able to get Philadelphia Country Club back into playing shape to resume stroke-play qualifying at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. (John Mummert/USGA)

It certainly created a challenge for Superintendent Mike McNulty, his staff and the many volunteers who have assisted the maintenance crew for this week’s 103rd playing of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.


Bunkers were filled with water and some of the greens and fairways had puddles and small streams forming.


Fortunately, the course had installed an internal drainage system in the 99 bunkers on the course, which in times of inclement weather can be a major plus. By the time McNulty and the staff returned to the course at 5 a.m., most of the bunkers had drained and the greens did not require any additional squeegying.


"Only two bunkers had to be pumped,” said McNulty, who has been at Philadelphia Country Club for 11 years. “That saved us a lot of work.”


Had the drainage system not been in place, McNulty said: “We probably would have had 99 bunkers to pump. There’s no way this course would have been ready to go at 7:30 this morning.”


Since squeegees were not required, McNulty and the staff could cut and roll the greens like they have been doing since practice rounds began on Saturday. The bunkers mainly required some additional raking to remove some of the washout areas and he added that some of Philadelphia Country Club’s members even assisted in the process.


The course received 1¾ inches of rain on Tuesday. McNulty did not have the official count from the previous four days.


"It’s been amazing,” said McNulty. “We’ve had five (consecutive) days of rain and nine weather delays. This has been pretty challenging.”


Philadelphia C.C. did go through a renovation process that created a different set of challenges for the maintenance crew. To prepare for this championship, the fairways and greens were regressed and they rebuilt all the tees and bunkers. Improvements also were made to the rough.


"It was a tier process,” added McNulty.


But when the week is over, McNulty and his crew, which has been at the course each day from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., might be due for a vacation.


Said McNulty with a smile: “Yeah, that would be nice.”

David Shefter is a staff writer with the USGA. He can be reached at



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