Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the experience of the Erin Hills U.S. Open Volunteers was the display of calm.
In the storms that suspended play, and soaked a championship course consistently throughout U.S. Open week, Erin Hills Superintendent Zach Reineking’s demeanor was one of stoic placidity.
Whatever Mother Nature (or Kevin Na) decided to put in his path, Zach was there with a calming message to accept it, adapt to it, and do your job well.
That unwavering, confident approach trickled down to his assistants and associates — Alex Beson-Crone, John Jacques, Adam Ayers, his equipment manager Tim Roddy and his U.S. Open Turfgrass Coordinator, Robert Leist. It was evident that after a decade preparing, shaping, trimming, hand-weeding and watering a course literally built around this week, they were – in a word – prepared.
4 a.m. Sunday, June 11. A moment after the countdown clock clicked to 0:00, Reineking and his staff addressed the gathered 150+ turfgrass volunteers (one for every player entered) that had streamed into this small Wisconsin hamlet from the other side of the globe, to just minutes down the road.
Inclement weather was forecast for nearly every day of the week. Nonetheless the hand-picked team was a custom blend of fine fairwaymen and women forged on, resolutely. They worked alongside the fantastically capable Erin Hills crew – pridefully prepping the manicured moraine for the 117th U.S. Open with the memory of recently lost team members still lingering like the morning dew.
Despite upwards of 20 hour days, these turfgrass teams worked tirelessly in concert to cut, roll and set up our nation’s greatest tournament.
You didn’t hear any complaining. You saw smiles between sips of a Red Bull. You saw them fielding calls while felling Big Bucks. You saw them fall asleep anywhere and everywhere, volume be damned.
Everyone had a job for the week. (With the exception of the Erin Hills staff, it was oftentimes a new job.)
Everyone accepted their job.
Everyone adapted to the conditions.
Everyone stayed calm, and did their job.
Everyone represented their state, country and clubs well.
And in the end, Erin Hills was home to an unforgettable experience – for 156 of the world’s greatest golfers, and the men and women assigned to craft their championship course.
Thank you for an amazing week in Wisconsin! We hope to see you in 2027. Or at least see you soon.