Course in great shape

Toshiba Classic Notebook

Recent warm temperatures have allowed for course to perk up as Toshiba Classic first round nears.

March 09, 2011|By Steve Virgen,

NEWPORT BEACH — The sunny weather this week in Southern California has been great for the golf course at Newport Beach Country Club. Perfect timing, as the 17th annual Toshiba Classic begins Friday.

Lee Trevino took notice after playing in the Toshiba Classic Pro-Am Wednesday.

"I've never seen it better," said Trevino, who is playing in his 15th Classic, which is in its 17th year. "It is in the best condition I have ever seen it. The scores are going to be extremely low, I think, which will be good … It is immaculate. The fairways are the best I've ever seen, the greens. Just everything about it … This is one of the finest golf courses I've ever played."

Ron Benedict, in his 20th year as the NBCC golf course superintendent, says the course is in "good of shape as it's ever been."


"Last year was probably the best ever, quite frankly," he said Wednesday. "The rough this year isn't quite as consistent. We started out OK with the overseed. But it got real hot in November and the kikuyu [on the fairways and roughs] kind of climbed over it."

Benedict said the rain and cold temperatures didn't help the roughs.

"The rough is a little inconsistent but the fairways are perfect, the greens are really good," he said. "All in all I'm really happy with the golf course."

Most of the golfers on the Champions Tour enjoy the course, as well, it's one of the reasons the Toshiba Classic has remained at the NBCC for the past 16 years and it will go for least two more.

Tom Watson, who shot nine-under-par 62 in his final round last year, certainly likes the course.

"I've always enjoyed this golf course," the 39-time PGA Tour winner said. "It's the classic golf course. "It's a course that anybody can go out and play and get around the course without losing any golf balls."

Benedict said the weeks leading up to last year's tournament made the course attain its best condition. Fred Couples would certainly agree, as he won the Toshiba Classic.

Benedict says he hears all types of comments about the course during the tournament week.

"Look at their scorecards," Benedict somewhat joked. "It depends on the scorecard. If he shot a 65 he loved it. Shot a 77? They don't."

Mostly, Benedict receives feedback from tournament staff or officials on the Champions Tour, he said.

"I tend to stay away from the players," he said. "I do my best to go about what I do and let them do what they do. If they win, congratulations and we'll you again next year."


Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles