A lot more than your average tournament

Zoysia greens, free beer, HKT48, and much more

The KBC Augusta tournament is next week (August 24 to 27) on the Japan Golf Tour. There are a lot of reasons why it is a lot more than an average tournament.

I’m especially interested in it because of the grass; it is korai (Zoysia matrella) on tees, fairways, and greens, and noshiba (Zoysia japonica) in the rough.

It is the only event on the Japan Golf Tour contested on korai greens. The grass gets a lot of media attention during the week because of this.

And Andrew McDaniel, the golf course superintendent, or greenkeeper as the job title is in Japan, is the only non-Japanese superintendent at a Japanese golf course (excluding the courses run by the U.S. military).

So when you are the only non-Japanese greenkeeper in a country with more than 2,000 courses, and when you are tasked with preparing the course for the only event contested on korai greens, you get a lot of media attention too.

It’s rare to see a tournament at which such a percentage of the media’s focus is on the turfgrass, and on the golf course superintendent. I’m not aware of any event at which it reaches this level. That’s fun to observe.

I’ll be doing that next week, and sharing a few things about the tournament that I find interesting. On Twitter I’ll use the #KBCオーガスタ hashtag. That’s “KBC Augusta” in Japanese.

Here’s some of the other things that make KBC Augusta more than the average tournament:

  • there’s free beer this year, if I understand correctly, for all ticketholders
  • there’s free food too
  • can I mention the grass again? This is greenside noshiba rough at 90 mm
  • if the free beer and free food isn’t loud enough, there is going to be “walk up” music for each player, and continuous background music in the centrally-located beer garden
  • some of the best surfing in Kyushu is just to the right of the first hole
  • the weather during the tournament, as at all tournaments, rarely cooperates. What’s going to happen this year?
  • Are you a fan of Japanese girl idol groups? Then you are in luck. HKT48 are playing a concert on the 18th fairway on Saturday night!
  • Lots of fine food and drinks at the maintenance shop, with a daily bento lunch
  • Rhodesian ridgebacks. They run the course to keep the hogs away and I imagine there may be one or two out at the course during tournament week.

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