2-time Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and was the Captain of the winning team in the 1999 Ryder Cup. The Presidents Cup is something that he is staying up late for. Royal Melbourne is one of his favorite courses in the entire world and he first played there in the late 1970’s. There are 36 wonderful holes and he is fascinated by how they create a composite course. It does not matter how you number the holes as all of them are great. He loves the course as a player as well as an architect. It is a cross between an American course and a British course. The greens are running 14 on the stimpmeter and in response to Chris’ feeling that the speed benefits the U.S. team, Crenshaw agreed and added that the greens at Royal Melbourne are beautifully done and are akin to Augusta National in that you need to be below the hole in order to have success.
Along with Bill Coore, Crenshaw worked to redesign Pinehurst #2 and in that project he removed over 400 sprinklers in an effort to reduce water usage. Many course superintendents have been scrutinized over the way they care for courses using pesticides, water, and other resources. The future will require all courses to find ways to use less water and he has a great perspective on this as someone from Texas where it is going through a terrible drought. Reducing water usage saves money and Royal Melbourne is an example of a golf course that can thrive and succeed using less water. Australia has been a nation of conservationists for many years and you can see that philosophy in use all over that country on playgrounds,parks, and golf courses including Royal Melbourne.