Dodging gators part of course prep for Sunday


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The maintenance crew faced daunting, dangerous challenges getting PGA National ready for Sunday’s resumption of the Honda Classic.

“It was an interesting night when the water level gets that high,” said Lukus Harvey, PGA National’s director of agronomy.  “The gators and snakes kind of roam free. We had to chase a gator out of [the No. 3] fairway bunker so we could pump it, and a couple moccasins were in the way. So, makes for an interesting night.”

With Harvey saying 4½ inches of rain fell overall Saturday, a dozen pumps were used to get all the water out of bunkers and fairways. A crew of 78 helped Harvey and superintendent Andrew Fike with the cleanup after the third round. Play was suspended for the day at 2:51 p.m. Saturday with the third round resuming at 10 a.m. Sunday.

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Three trees were lost in the storm, with one of them hit by lightning. Two of the trees were in play off the No. 1 fairway.

Harvey said repairing bunkers was the largest challenge.

“The bunkers were a total loss,” Harvey said. “All the sand was washed off the faces down to the bottom, which then exposes the native soil and flips the silt and the black dirt over on top of it.”

Harvey said the bunkers were manicured back into shape. The fairways couldn’t be mowed, but the greens and tees were.

“Couldn't be happier,” Harvey said. “Golf course is going to play as good as it possibly could with the weather.”