GCSAA Past President Mark Woodward, CGCS, golf operations manager for the city of San Diego, has changed virtually every part of the two golf courses, as they have replaced the bentgrass greens with Poa annua and all the fairways and rough with kikuyugrass, lightly overseeded with ryegrass.
An extensive cart path system was added to the South Course, which also hosts the U.S. Open this summer, and it has played cart-path-only the past 13 months to keep traffic off the turf. Six tees were leveled and enlarged on the South Course and three new tees on Nos. 13, 16 and 10 were added. Every bunker on the South Course has been reshaped and restored and 2,500 tons of sand has been added.
Woodwards staff added five new bunkers on the South Course as well. Numerous trees were removed for agronomic reasons such as sunlight and air movement, and many more were trimmed as part of a comprehensive tree maintenance program.
Some trees along No. 4 fairway on the South Course were removed and the fairway was moved closer to the cliff, bringing more challenging crosswinds into play on the 384-yard par 4 along the ocean.
No. 6 on the South Course will be a par 4 instead of par 5 for the U.S. Open, making the course a par 71 instead of par 72.
Green speeds will be 11 on South Course this week and 13 for the U.S. Open, partly because of the TOURs preference and partly because the greens will be harder and firmer in summer than winter.
The rough is four inches now and it will be five to six inches high for the U.S. Open. Woodward says the South Courses No. 12 plays directly toward the ocean and into the wind, making it a tough par 4, while No. 13 is a 615-yard par 5 with a new championship tee that carries 215 yards over a canyon to an uphill fairway before reaching a well-bunkered green. No. 18, which will remain a par 5 for the U.S. Open, could potentially be a birdie or eagle hole.