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Despite Drought Conditions, TPC Twin Cities Is In Good Shape For 3M Open

BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) -- Some of the world's best golfers will take the stage in Blaine this week for the 3M Open.

It comes at a time when more than half of the state is in a severe drought. That has groundskeepers at TPC Twin Cities keeping a close eye on the rain gauge.

As WCCO found, last week's rainfall will go a long way in keeping the course in good shape.

"That's called baked out grass," Mike Ludwig joked.

In a development just steps away from the 12th hole, even a housing association struggles to make up for mother nature this summer.

Still, Ludwig isn't worried about what TPC Twin Cities will look like this week.

"These guys are so educated and so into doing things the right way. It's pretty remarkable how much more efficient they are with the golf courses than what they were 20, 30 years ago," Ludwig said.

Director of Golf Course Maintenance Operations Mark Michalski showed off that expertise with a moisture meter in hand.

"That number's good. You don't need to touch that area. Keep moving," he said.

Making measuring conditions of the sand-based, 272 acre-course close to an exact science.

TPC Twin Cities
(credit: CBS)

"That's the best playing conditions - firm, fast," Michalski said.

The right ingredients were there early on for good grass: a mild winter and a dry spring.

"Kind of like working out for a marathon, you're trying to train that grass plan to work out for a marathon that is sometimes June, July and August," he said.

Then, a much-needed inch of rain last week came just in time.

"Here at the golf course it doubled our rainfall total since I think May 10," Michalski said.

There are more than 2,000 irrigation heads on this course but even with the ongoing lack of rain groundskeepers will only run about half of them.

"It's not about volume of water, it's about strategically placing that water directly where that plant needs it," Michalski said.

Now that the tournament is here, Michalski says crews will water as little as possible to keep a firm course. Hand-watering with hoses will keep the brown at bay, as top golfers again prepare to tee off with the only acceptable color in site.

The golf course sits on the site of an old sod farm and draws water from its own well so it doesn't rely on city water.

As for the city of Blaine, it's under typical summer water restrictions. But a spokesperson says more changes are possible soon if conditions don't change.

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