An Adventure Morocco by suchenfz


									                                                                         Photos courtesy of Pan American World Airways, Inc.

                       An Adventure                                                      Morocco
                      by Nancy C. Horton

                       The Moroccan Federation of Golf wanted tiptop tournament conditions
                       for its first Grand Prix event, so it invited an American golf
                       course superintendent to oversee the preparation of the course

 "H     ow would you like to go
         to Morocco?" When my
                                             oneck, N.Y., recovered in plenty of
                                             time to say, ''I'd love to."
                                                                                    in Rabat, the capital of Morocco,
                                                                                    we all went to see the Dar Es Sa-
 husband was asked this question,               Thus started an unforgettable ad-   lam, the most spectacular of King
 he was stunned into momentary si-           venture for our entire family. For     Hassan's golf course complexes
 lence. However, Edward "Ted"                Ted, it meant a unique opportunity     (others are within palace walls at
 Horton, golf course superintendent          to prepare a golf course for a major   Rabat, Skhirat, Fez and Agadin,
 at Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamar-            tournament in a distant land. The      and are strictly for the King's per-
                                             course, he learned, was the Royal      sonal guests).
                                             Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, Mo-
                                             rocco. The tournament was the          A Challenging Course
                                             inaugural Moroccan International          The Dar Es Salam golf course is
                                             Grand Prix.                            located 71f2 miles southeast of Rabat
  Nancy Horton is the wife of Edward            To provide this special 'Consult-   in the Temarest Forest. A golf en-
  "Ted" Horton, golf course superinten-      ing service requested by the Royal     thusiast, King Hassan II had im-
  dent at Winged Foot Golf Club, Mam-                                               ported Robert Trent Jones to de-
  aroneck, N.Y. With her husband as
                                             Moroccan Federation of Golf, Ted's
  consultant, she wrote this article about   board of directors at the Winged       sign two 18-hole courses and one
  Ted's experiences in preparing the         Foot Golf Club allowed him to take     9-hole course on undulating terrain
  Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Moroc-     a month's leave of absence in addi-    covered by 1,013 acres of cork oak
  co, for the inaugural Morocco Inter-       tion to the one-month vacation he      forest.
  national Grand Prix Tournament. The
  Hortons and their two sons went on the     already had coming. The Moroc-           The courses were constructed by
  journey together.                          can Consul in New York made all        the army. The Red Course, the only
    Ted Horton has 'been particularly        the arrangements for. us, and we       one 'completed at that time, was to
  busy these past many months preparing      left the United States on Decem-       be the scene of the Moroccan Inter-
  his own course, Winged Foot GC, for
  the 1974 U.S. Open Championship,           ber 1, 1971.                           national Grand Prix Tournament.
- which will take place June 13-16.             Two days after our arrival          This is a par-73, 7,523-yard-Iong

 22                                                                                          Golf Superintendent/May   1974
This is the 577-yard 8th hole, an almost straightaway par-5 cut through a cordon of cork oaks, of the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam
in Rabat, Morocco, scene of the Moroccan International Grand Prix. The caddies are colorfully dressed in red. Photo courtesy
of Moroccan Consulate, New York City, N.Y...

 course; and because of its extreme       Salam, he found the golf course in          ment 8-inch pipe had been used
length plus severe rolls on the           basically good condition, although          with faulty couplings. Under slight-
greens, it is an incredibly difficult     some problems existed as a result           ly excessive pressure, these coup-
course to play. Particularly chal-        of improper mowing practices. The           lings readily broke and caused
lenging are the 456-yard hole num-        greens had been mowed every                heavily Hooded areas. Instead of
ber 3 and the 465-yard hole num-          other day in the same direction.            digging up the whole fairway and
ber 11, both culminating on small         Fairways, tees and roughs had              replacing all of the couplings, they
undulating greens.                        been mowed at the same height              decided simply to replace them as
   The tees, fairways and roughs          with heavy gang mowers. Agricul-           they broke. It was necessary to
were' planted with a native bent-         tural tires had been used on the           have the controls adjusted in the
grass harvested from the King's pri-      tractors, which had caused consid-         main pumphouse so that the pres-
vate course in Skhirat. At the time       erable damage to both fairways             sure did not exceed the rating of
of planting at Dar Es Salam, Penn-        and tees.                                  the pipes. First-class modern equip-
cross was seeded lightly through-                                                    ment and a well-planned mainte-
out the course. The greens were           Problems to Solve                          nance program were both available
seeded to pure Penncross and had            An automatic irrigation system           and several trained mechanics were
remained relatively pure. Mainte-         had been improperly installed by           on hand, but there were a few
nance procedures on these grasses         inexperienced personnel and it was         problems in this department.
were similar to those used at Ted's       malfunctioning. The syringe system             In short, the situation was an
home course in New York State.            did not work properly. Also, the           eager consultant's dream. Unfor-
Perhaps more vertical mowing was          central controllers were simply            tunately, the opening day of the
necessary because of the creeping         nailed to trees, so Ted had a small        tournament was only two and a
characteristics of both the Penn-         shelter built for these controllers        half weeks away. Ted had at least
cross and the native bentgrass.           and had them remounted onto the            two things working in his favor: his
   When Ted first looked at Dar Es        wall. On two fairways, asbestos ce-        ability to speak "street French,"

Golf Superintendent   / May 1974                                                                                         23
learned during his boyhood in Can-         not expected to present a major             which covered an area of 53,800
ada (French is the business lan-           problem, only the last few finishing       square feet, was officially unveiled.
guage in Morocco), and an enor-            holes were outlined with ropes and         Leather-covered     walls, suede-cov-
mous crew. Though ready and will-          stakes.                                     ered lockers, marble and tile pow-
ing but untrained, the crew in sheer          Because much of the labor had            der rooms, a "Hamman" (a Moorish
numbers mad~ manpower          avail-     been done manually, the tees had            bath), modern dining areas with a
able both day and night.                  not been suitably compacted be-             200-seat 'capacity, a fireside cocktail
   There was a total of 200 men           fore seeding. As a result, many of          lounge, several offices and a large
working on the three courses, in-         the tees had depressions that hin-          terrace overlooking Japanese gar-
cluding 60 in the technical group         dered play. A renovation program            dens and forest were displayed in
who worked with the machinery on          of all the tees was started by strip-       all their splendor.
the completed Red Course. There           ping the sod, releveling the tee and           The $50,000 tournament          was
were also 12 gardeners and plant-         replacing the sod. Because many of          won by OrviIIe Moody, on a score
ers on the crew.                          the drainage tile lines had been            of even par after four rounds of
   The kinds of jobs dohe by crew         placed in the soil without the use of       golf. Only 25 professionals and 75
members on the Royal Dar Es Sa-           transit or level and with no junc-          amateurs played the tournament by
lam golf course were similar to           tion boxes for turns, all the tile lines    invitation from the Royal Moroc-
those done in the U.S., since the         had to be found and checked by              can Federation of Golf. The first
course was well equipped with ma-         water hoses to see if they worked           three days were Pro-Am, with such
chinery. However, such equipment          properly. A program to regrade all          celebrities as Robert Goulet and
is not at many of the other golf          of the water lines and the areas            Gunther     Sachs participating      as
courses in Africa. Therefore, greens      around each of the snap valves and          amateurs, and the fourth day was
and tees are mowed by hand and            automatic sprinkler heads was ini-          given over to the professionals.
the fairways by tractor or horse-         tiated.                                        The palace reception        for the
drawn Il}owers.                              Another program to remove dew            winners was a night Ted and I wiII
                                          in the morning before play by              never forget. The King himself pre-
                                          dragging hoses was begun. Regrad-           sented the prizes in the palace
Preparing the Course
                                          ing around all of the small trees          courtyard. The palace was breath-
    In Africa, it seems the supervisor
                                          and shrubs, hole by hole, was start-       takingly beautiful. Ceiling-to-floor
or "boss" must never soil his hands.
                                          ed. A program of adding seed and           windows were draped with exqui-
Ted shocked everyone by demon-
                                          soil to divots was then initiated,         site white lace, and the high ceil-
strating what he wanted done and
                                          and water hazards were clearly             ings were lavishly carved over the
he did it the best way he could. He
                                          marked by red and yellow stakes.           colorfully     tiled waIls and the
overcame the language barrier by
doing the jobs himself a few times.                                                  gleaming marble floors. The Mo-
   To ready the course for the tour-      D-Day Approaches                           roccan royalty went all out to make
nament,      Ted first changed      the      During the week of the tourna-          the American and European visi-
mowing practices. He ordered the          ment, the pressure on Ted finally          tors feel welcome. We were more
greens mowed in different direc-          eased and we were able to begin            than impressed. We were over-
tions daily. The heavy fairway units      enioying the exciting atmosphere.          whelmed.
were moved off the tees, which            What's more, we found ourselves                When Ted's job was finished and
were then mowed with greens               rubbing elbows with such celebri-          it was time to leave Morocco, Ted
mowers in various directions as           ties as Robert Goulet and Carol            was requested to meet with King
needed. The fairways were out-            Lawrence, Gunther Sachs with a             Hassan at the Mohammedia Golf
lined and mowed in different direc-       bevy of blonde beauties, Ray Bol-          Course. After the formal goodbyes,
tions with fairway mowers. The            ger, and the debonnaire King Has-          Ted was invited to dine at a table
tires on the tractors were changed        san. Among the golf greats in town         with several of the King's guests.
to smooth road or turf tires. Height      for the tournament were Billy Cas-         Even though tables of sumptuous
of cut was adjusted to the tourna-        per, Dewitt Weaver, Tony Jacklin,          food were set before him, Ted was
ment standards with which Ted             OrviIIe Moody, J. C. Snead, Johnny         hesitant about eating. His Majesty
was familiar.                             MiIIer and Doug Sanders.                   observed this and said in English,
   Construction     on bridges, shel-        Dar Es Salam was now in tiptop          "Monsieur Horton, eat!"
ters, comfort stations and the main       shape for the tournament.       The            We came home by way of Spain
gate had yet to be 'completed.            greens were so slick and tough,            and France, taking in as much
Ground-under-repair      signs had to     some of the players were actuaIIy          sight-seeing as time allowed. Far
be made and the repair areas de-          unhappy. They had evidently ex-            away places found in the atlas until
noted with lime. The French tour-         pected a cow pasture and they got          now, such as Torremolinos, Mala-
nament      committee    had worked       a true test of tournament golf con-        ga, Granada, San Sebastian, Ba-
with Ted for several days, mapping        ditions. BiIIy Casper behaved like         yonne, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Angou-
out these areas.                          the great sportsman and gentleman          Ierne, Poitiers, Tours, Versailles,
   Also, hazards      needed   to be      he is. Despite unlucky golf, he            and of course, Paris, became reali-
marked off with red and yeIIow            spent much of his time walking the         ties for us. But it was good to re-
stakes and the normal grooming of         course with Ted and offering sug-          turn home, and Ted was happy to
the golf course had to be complet-        gestions and encouragement.                be back at Winged Foot with his
ed. Because spectator traffic was            The California-style  clubhouse,        beloved crew .•

24                                                                                           Golf Superintendent / May   1974

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