Superintendent has Royal Montreal Ready for Presidents Cup

A 22-year Class A member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) will be welcoming world's top golfers to Royal Montreal Golf Club September 27-30 for the Presidents Cup. Blake McMaster, the historic club's course and property manager, has been preparing for the event for years.

In 2004, McMaster changed the greens to L-93 bentgrass in an effort to counter the region's narrow window for growing grass. Because of the short season, he had a local sod producer grow the L-93 on a USGA greens mix, and then sodded the greens.

The Presidents Cup is a biennial match-play event between teams from the United States and the rest of the world (minus Europe). This is the first time the Cup will ever be played in Canada. McMaster has prepped for the PGA Tour's Canadian Open twice at Royal Montreal in 1997 and 2001.

"The scale is dramatically different from other golf events, even our Open," said McMaster. "Just the space they need and the amount of time they need . . . the PGA Tour has had advance people on site for two years. The infrastructure started going up on June 1. Having a championship course is one thing; having space for the infrastructure for the needs of the media, the PGA Tour and the corporate facilities is another."

McMaster has been at Royal Montreal Golf Club since 1995. He previously served as the golf course superintendent at Brampton (Ontario) Golf Club from 1975-1995 and superintendent at Gormley (Ontario) Green Golf Club in 1974. He has an associate's degree in turf science from the University of Guelph in Ontario.

The Royal Montreal Golf Club was founded in 1873, making it the oldest golf club in North America. Permission was granted by Queen Victoria to use the "Royal" prefix in 1884. The par-70, 7,153-yard Blue Course is ranked as one of the "100 Greatest Courses in the World," and was voted 12th best course in Canada by Scoregolf readers in 2006. Royal Montreal has hosted the Canadian Open nine times. Its bluegrass/fescue rough stands nearly 4 inches tall and the bentgrass greens are measuring 10.5-11 feet on the Stimpmeter.