Bernhard’s Global Tournament Support. What are the benefits and why do we do it?

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Tournament Support means a great deal to the Bernhard sales team and it is something they do a lot of right across the globe.

Steve Nixon, International Sales Manager explains why. “We do it for two reasons. Firstly, we have a really good relationship with our customers and we know the pressures they are under when they are organising Tournaments, so if we can be there to help them, keep the wheels oiled, take some of the pressure off and support their maintenance team, then we are more than happy to do so.

Secondly we like to see top quality turf, particularly when it is under the scrutiny of the world’s top players and press, and we get a certain pride from knowing that we helped achieve this.

Tournaments are an enormous pressure for the most experienced and seasoned of Greenkeepers. This is the opportunity to offer spectacular conditions to the greatest golfers on earth and it has to be as good and as perfect for each and every player.

The world’s sporting press, golfing fans and fellow Superintendents, Greenkeepers and Golf Clubs from all over the world are watching and so the pressure to give perfect conditions to every player, at all times of the day, in whatever weather is thrown at them is about as tall an order as anyone can get.

These days there can be no hiding from the press or the public. TV cameras, close up images, nose-to-green shots are everywhere and more or less every single blade of grass, every green and fairway, every trimmed tree, bush and manicured flower bed must be perfect.

Our Tournament Support is in such demand these days and clubs tell us it is an invaluable service – not just in terms of extra man power, but also the level of expertise we bring, and the added confidence and peace of mind for the maintenance teams.”

We talked to some of the clubs around the world who wanted to share their experiences with us about just what Tournament Support brings to them – and how their teams of already very experienced people benefit so much.

This last year in the USA alone, the Bernhard Tournament Support team helped out at 12 events, with Tom Hurst personally involved in 7, including Sebonack, Liberty National, National Golf Links and Merion.

For Tom Hurst, our Technical Specialist in the USA, Tournament Support is all about working along-side friends and colleagues in the business he has been immersed in all his life.

“No matter how well organised you are, how ahead of the game you are, tournaments are a very stressful time. They are demanding, particularly if the weather or conditions have been unkind, and we have certainly seen a lot of unpredictable weather these last few years; so to be able to offer another experienced pair of hands from outside your own team can be really useful and reassuring. For me, and I am sure for most of my colleagues, it is a huge privilege to work around these tight and well managed teams and be part of such important events.”

The Barclays Tournament was at Liberty National in August 2013. Golf Course Superintendent, Greg James said, “Everyone enjoyed the golf and the course, so it really was a fantastic event. The weather was good – in the low 80’s, and around 60 at night, we had one day of rain but otherwise it was perfect.

Tom Hurst came in for 3 days and helped my mechanic to get everything in perfect shape and cut. Tom is a unique guy, he knows what he is doing, and he perks everyone up. It’s a blessing to have him in.

I’d say having Tom in before an event is really crucial to the success of an event so I hope he will come back and help us later this year. “

Matt Shaffer at Merion Golf Club had a team of 55 plus 120 volunteers to work and manage his 113 acre course at the US Open in June last Year.

Matt said, “We had a great team of people put together for the tournament and they worked hard. Historically we get 1½ inches of rain in June, but last year we got around 7½ and the course flooded twice, so without the support of so many good people and friends it would have been a nightmare. As it was things went really well.

Tom Hurst was here working several weeks in advance helping our Equipment Manager, Robert get all the mowers set up, and he also managed to get hold of a second bedknife grinder, so that was a monumental advantage for us. The reels were so sharp we didn’t need to grind for the whole week during the tournament.

You can’t do a tournament without sharp mowers - it all starts there, and a good mower and sharp cut will eliminate a lot of problems.”


In Pacific Asia, Bernhard gave support right across the region from China to Japan, Singapore to Korea.

In Japan at the Fundokin Ladies Tournament in October, the Usuki Country Club had a lot of work to do to their greens from August onwards. The bent grass they use on many of the greens in Japan’s Kyushu area suffer every summer – so their Greenkeeper had to work hard to recover the greens and get them into perfect condition in time for the tournament.

Mirai Takahashi, Bernhard Business Development Manager for Japan said, “The Greenkeeper didn't want to mow too many times because this would cause added stress to the green, but they had to do it in order to prepare the greens ready for the tournament.”

At the Japan Women’s Open we had very heavy rain on the Friday and Saturday so the green was softer than on the Thursday, but the green speed was no slower, and the green itself was still very smooth. I cannot stress enough just how important sharp mowers are.”

Tony Wong, Superintendent of a spectacular golf course in China told us in a letter of thanks following TS last year, that his staff were amazed at the cutting quality achieved.

“The outcome was even greater than expected and the staff were amazed at the difference in cutting quality that Bernhard’s Tournament Support helped achieve. We know the tournament would have been less excellent without your quality guidance and training. 

Our team of mechanics benefitted from the efficient and better cutting quality grinding technique offers and I benefitted from a better team of mechanics due to your support.

We will completely maintain this technique in the future to gain more benefits on cutting quality from having sharper blades.

Thanks again for your contribution to make this tournament a huge success.”


In Europe, Ben Taylor was at the Paris National for the French Open and Crans Montana, Switzerland for the Swiss Open last summer. These were both very successful tournaments. “We worked long hours, setting up the machines very early in the morning, supporting the greens staff, helping them to make sure everything is in the same perfect condition throughout the course of each day.“

Steve Nixon added, “The spin off for us is that we learn an awful lot from being involved with Tournament Support. We get to work with some great teams of professionals, and this in turn helps us to have a more in-depth understanding of the issues our customers face every day. We can translate and pass on these experiences to Golf Clubs for every day play.”