GHC ready despite shorter time to prepare

Despite having seven months to prepare for another tournament, Rock Barn Golf & Spa is ready to host the 2011 Greater Hickory Classic presented by Kia Motors next week.

Pete Fisch, tournament manager for the Greater Hickory Classic, said the moving of the tournament date put the course in a time disadvantage.

“This year, we’ve had a shorter turnaround for getting ready because we moved (the tournament) from October to June,” Fisch said. “We’re really doing two tournaments in nine months. That quick turnaround, coupled with the extreme heat we’ve had this week, has made it more difficult than some other years.”

Jim Correll, the executive tournament director for the Greater Hickory Classic, believes the timing for the event is great despite the short time that the course and officials had to prepare.

“There are a lot of advantages,” Correll said. “It is golf season. It is after The Masters, after The Wells Fargo tournament and before the U.S. Open. We are not competing with football season. It is not competing with hurricane season.”

According to Fisch, the crew at Rock Barn has been working 12-14 hours a day since Memorial Day to finish construction for spectators and guests.
The crew is also working on the course to put it into pristine condition for the Champions Tour golfers to play on.

“Construction began about three weeks ago, when the hospitality suites started going in,” Fisch said. “We get started about a month before the tournament, and it goes right up to the time the first Champions Tour professional walks to the first tee Friday morning of tournament week.”

As far as a cost for this process, Fisch said it is hard to estimate due to the amount of resources that are utilized.

“It’s difficult to put a dollar amount on this construction process,” Fisch said. “We bring in temporary labor, utilize our full-time staff and the Rock Barn crew helps us, so there are a lot of partners players that make this construction process happen each year.”

Fisch said that in spite of the timing of the event, the tournament is ready because the course and its staff have been through the planning and set-up process before.

“The longer you go through this process, the more you get accustomed to what you have to do,” Fisch said. “Our crew is knocking out piece by piece, and we’re getting close to finishing the job. So it’s moving along better than expected, considering the circumstances.”