Q&A: Bob Covington, general chairman, NCAA Championship
The Atlanta area serves as the crossroads of men’s college golf, from this fall’s Ping/Golfweek Preview and the recent U.S. Collegiate to the spring’s NCAA Championship at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course. Golfweek caught up with Bob Covington, a Capital City Club member who is in charge of preparations for the May 28-June 2 NCAAs, during the U.S. Collegiate in Alpharetta.
How did hosting this season’s Ping/Golfweek Preview help prepare for the NCAA?
It helped a great deal, especially from a member and volunteer standpoint. We said we absolutely wanted the Preview, and were very committed to do it. The membership was 100 percent for it. It gave the players an opportunity to see and play the course, and it gave the volunteers a chance to see some outstanding young players. I think the volunteers are really excited about helping for the NCAA.
How will the course be set up?
Very similar to the Preview. We’ll play it to a par 70 (normally a par 72), with the ninth and 16th holes playing as par 4s rather than par 5s. It should be around 7,400 yards. The tees and fairways will be overseeded with ryegrass. The rough will still be Bermuda, but depending on the winter we have, may or may not be as thick (as during Preview). The bentgrass greens will probably be a little faster – I’m guessing running 12-13 on the Stimpmeter. I can make the golf course impossible, but that’s silly.
What range of scores do you think there will be?
At the Preview, we didn’t have any teams finish under par, and only one individual. When we hosted the (NCAA) regional in 2010, no teams were under, and I think only two individuals. I’d like to see something like that. I want the golf course to be difficult but fair. I don’t want players walking away saying it was stupid. I want them to say it was hard.
How do you think the Crabapple Course stacks up for a national championship?
There’s pretty much no out of bounds, no water. The bunkers are deep. The strength of the golf course is the speed of the greens and the difficulty of the rough. But the bottom line is, the course is out there in front of you. You get what you see. If the wind kicks up, it makes it even harder. I would never trick it up just for the sake of doing that. My whole thing for the NCAA is what can we do to make this an experience, something players, coaches and people will talk about and remember for a long time. I, and all our club members, want everyone to leave with a good and memorable experience.