JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Although still early, players at the PGA Championship have given the Highlands Course at Atlanta Athletic Club high praise, particularly for the conditioning of the layout.
It’s a kudo one would not have expected the last time the PGA was played in the heart of Dixie in 2001. Bent grass greens and a heat index in the triple digits produced soft, wet conditions a decade ago, but AAC director of grounds Ken Mangum oversaw the rebuilding of all 18 greens since ’01 with a new, heat-tolerant grass.
“I did it so my last major isn’t a disaster,” the affable Mangum smiled.
The new grasses will give the PGA of America more options as they set up the golf course which has led to the ubiquitous question: how fast will the greens get. In fact, Mangum has been asked the question so many times he had a t-shirt printed up that reads, “Stimpmeter readings $100.”
For the record, Mangum said AAC’s greens are running at “tournament speed.” Not exactly sure what that means, but he was smiling when he said it.