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Change Proved Difficult for Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“We were on the limit all day long,” Vidaor said. “We backed off green speeds from high elevens [on the stimpmeter, a device that measures green speeds] and dropped the speed right down to the mid tens. It’s an exposed golf course, and we have to be careful because there’s no shelter in any respect.” Vidaor and his team slowed the speeds by cutting the greens less often than usual, and watering them to permit the grass to grow overnight. Typically, tournament golf is played at a minimum speed of 11 to check players. The reduction of the speeds at Yas Links last 12 months was a mirrored image of how severely the wind was blowing, which could cause balls to drift from their paths once putted.

Barring conditions just like the ones last 12 months, Vidaor said he didn’t expect to vary much on this 12 months’s setup. Citing Hatton’s criticism last 12 months, he said, “Eighteen is most unusual, but I feel it’s an awesome par 5. It’s a three-shotter, which on this planet of tournament golf, you don’t get fairly often lately.” He added that the course’s designer, Kyle Phillips, intended for it to play this manner. Vidaor, who’s a fan of Phillips’s work, said “I like a par 5 where par is a great rating. Nothing incorrect with that.”

Certainly one of the true differences at Yas Links compared with most DP World Tour courses is its strain of grass, paspalum. Often used on seaside courses or in hot climates, it’s a drought-resistant turf that may thrive in hostile conditions, similar to when sea mist falls on it. Bermuda grass, which can also be often utilized in hot climates, can often get “grainy,” Vidaor noted, which affects shots on and across the greens, as that grain can have a grabbing effect on the ball. Paspalum, in contrast, lacks that.

Also unique to Yas Links is that paspalum is the one turf grass on the property, which is barely unusual in today’s modern agronomy at golf courses. Most courses have one form of fairway grass to account for the damage and tear of golf carts, while the greens will feature one other form of grass to account for the perfect pure roll, in addition to for the climatic conditions. The uniform quality of the course makes for an attractive presentation, but in addition a uniform playing surface. “The consistency throughout the course was stunning,” Pieters said.

Vidaor said that also got here from controlling the mowing heights, where the grass on the greens was cut to 1.6 millimeters and the grass on the tees was cut to three.5 millimeters. Fairways were at 6.5 millimeters. All which means that even within the desert in winter, the balls are going to maneuver very fast and the course could have an immaculate appearance.

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