While many of golf’s major stars will be in England at Royal Birkdale Golf Club for the Open Championship this week, many other stars will return to Grand National for another year of the Barbasol Championship.
Grand National reportedly boasted the best grounds for golf that old Robert Trent Jones, Sr. had ever seen, so it’s only appropriate that it lies just outside the Loveliest Village on the Plains. However, there aren’t many actual Plains at Grand National. That course rolls up and down, and does not treat duffers like myself kindly. The last time I had an opportunity to play the course was two years ago, about two weeks before the Barbasol Championship, but it was tournament-ready all the same.
Each green was far more crowned than I’d ever seen them on a normal day, with the rough extraordinarily green, but exceedingly unforgiving. It’s hard to believe that anything that beautiful and well-manicured could betray you, but it easily does. Somehow I managed to leave ball marks on several greens, but never actually walked up to a putting surface to find my ball waiting for me. They’re pretty slippery.
And don’t even get me started on what’s going to be the 6th hole this week. A masterful shot is necessary to reach and hold the green. The green’s not all that deep, so you’ve got to get it high and drop it softly. Needless to say, I didn’t keep an actual score on the day.
Anyway, the Barbasol Championship should be a great time this weekend, with a full week of activities that begin tomorrow. There’s also the Pro-Am on Wednesday that features Gus Malzahn (last year’s winner) among many other former Tiger athletes.
But the real show will be the play starting later this week. Multiple major winners join former Auburn golfers Blayne Barber and Patton Kizzire in the field as the tournament gets underway Thursday morning. Scott Piercy won the event in its debut two years ago, while Aaron Baddeley took the title in 2016.