Turf Talk: Blade-to-Blade with the Valley’s Top Grass Men

Tom MAckinJanuary 3, 2023
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WMPO Turf

Before the world turns its attention to State Farm Stadium and Super Bowl LVII, eyes will be fixed on the lush environs of TPC Scottsdale, where 44,000 rounds are played annually. Here’s the man behind the fairways.

Brandon Reese
Director of Agronomy, TPC Scottsdale

The 41-year-old has been a PGA Tour employee for 17 years, working at TPC Scottsdale from 2011 to 2015 before returning in April 2021.

What’s your grass-maintenance philosophy, if we can call it that?

Taking care of a golf course for a high-profile event is like taking care of a child. It’s a living, breathing thing, and we need to make sure we have our eyes peeled to make adjustments.

Where is turf damage the highest? 

People want to [tee off at] 16 until they hit the green, so that tee box can get extremely beat up. 

What’s your first task after tournament ends? 

We’re kind of anxious to get the water turned back on. At the end of the week, the golf course is pretty thirsty. 

Ever go to a
Cardinals game? 

Yes. A field that moves? That’s pretty sweet. I’d like to mow that field as it’s moving back into the stadium. That’s kind of a bucket list item for me. 

Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

TPC Playing Surface: 90 acres of maintained turf

Super Bowl Turf 

After the WM Phoenix Open wraps up on Sunday, February 12, a different show on grass takes over. And who’s responsible for keeping the green presentable through 40 days of gridiron violence per year? This guy.  

Andrew Levy
Turf Director, Arizona Cardinals

The 47-year-old has tended to the grass at State Farm Stadium since it opened in 2006. 

Of all the players on the field, who’s hardest on the turf? 

Offensive lineman. It’s similar to a divot from a golf club. 

Is your job easier than Brandon’s at TPC Scottsdale?

It’s different jobs with their own level of difficulty. But on game day, our work gets scrutinized by millions and we have a couple of hundred million dollars of inventory out on the field.

What’s your first task after the Super Bowl ends?

[Vacuum] up all the confetti and replace all divots. 

Have you ever played TPC Scottsdale?

Not yet. But I grew up in the Mesa-Tempe area and attended the tournament as a kid at Phoenix Country Club. I still have a shoebox full of golfer autographs.

Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

SFS Playing Surface: Just over 2 acres of turf sitting in a 4-foot-deep tray that moves in and out of the  stadium on rails.

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