Much has been made about the hydronic cooling and warming system installed at Southern Hills, and it has been put to work so far this year. Images of snowfall at the course this winter showed a blanket of white with a pristine green smack in the middle. Two weeks ago, the Tulsa-area received upwards of seven inches of rain over the course of a few days. A heat wave has followed since then with highs consistently reaching the low 90s.
[Courtesy: Clyde Chrisman]
The man tasked with handling the extremes of Oklahoma weather and getting Southern Hills ready for the PGA Championship this week is Russ Myers. The good news is that he might be the person best equipped for the job. From his time at Augusta National where the first hydronic system was installed in the late 80s to overseeing a similar heating and cooling system installed at Los Angeles Country Club, Myers has decades of experience. When he returned to Southern Hills in 2016, he brought this experience and wealth of knowledge to the massive project during its Gil Hanse “historic renovation.”
Myers joined Andy Johnson on The Fried Egg podcast back in the summer of 2019. The system had just been put in place, and he shared with Andy how they were already reaping the benefits:
“When I was here for my first stint, I vowed to myself I wouldn’t ever rebuild a green without putting them [hydronics] in. Because I just think it has such a strong long term value to extending the life of greens and overall ability to manipulate the environment. This is the best system put in by far, design wise, and fully operational on all the bent grass surfaces on the course. This’ll be the first summer with it all in, but it was sure nice to know [on a 96 degree July day] it was about 75 degrees in the soil temps down there.”
Myers also has some incredible stories from his time at Augusta National in the late 90s. His interactions with Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman, and Tiger Woods during his four years there are another highlight of this fantastic interview.
MORE PGA COVERAGE FROM THE FRIED EGG
- A video with Gil Hanse on what the pros will confront at Southern Hills
- The Restoration: Southern Hills and the future of championship golf
- A PGA Primer on the traits and challenges of Southern Hills
- Paulie’s Picks: Attributes and players to consider for the PGA
- What to Know About Perry Maxwell: The life, work, and philosophy of the architect behind Southern Hills
- Oklahoma and Maxwell-themed T-shirts for the 2022 PGA