(WICHITA, Kan.)—The professional part of the Wichita Open Golf Tournament kicks off Thursday. But while everyone will be watching the golfers and the shots, look where their standing.
Underneath the drives, the putts, and the tees, sit the greens. It may not look like much, sitting there silently. But rebelliously, almost imperceptibly, it is growing.
"When you mow out here," said Chad Stearns, "we're mowing greens at 100,000th of an inch."
He supervises each rough, each fairway, each blade of grass on the Crestview Country Club. "My job is to create the best playing conditions possible," he explained Wednesday afternoon.
But for the professionals descending upon these lush and expansive greens, this is much more than just grass. It is a variable, and this green keeps them from a hundred thousand of a different kind of green.
"All in all, the course is in perfect shape," said golfer Jeff Curl. "If you don't play well this week, it's your bad, not course."
"The greens are the best I've ever seen them," said six-time Wichita Open player Bob Heintz. The course is earning a reputation for being one of the best kept courses on this year's Nationwide tour.
"Perfect, absolutely perfect. No complaints," said Curl. "I don't think you'll find one guy all week to complain. Even if you're a bad putter, you're going to enjoy it this week."
So when you watch the Wichita Open this week, and you watch the swings, and the putts, and the players, also notice where all that happens. It's on Chad Stearns' turf.