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Blackthorn prepares its course for Four Winds Invitational

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - When fans make their way to Blackthorn Golf Club next week for the Four Winds Invitational, they'll not only be treated to high-quality golf, but also a course in pristine condition.

“The anticipation is growing daily," said club superintendent John Quickstad. "We’re pretty excited and it’s out of our routine and that’s really almost the best part of it.”

Quickstad leads the crew tasked with keeping the grounds presentable, and not just when there's a large tournament.

Through full work days in the summer heat, the small staff is in charge of several tasks in order to make the course as playable as possible for the Symetra Tour.

“All my guys take a lot of pride in what they do and want to put their best foot forward," said Quickstad. "It’s a big event for us. The ladies really appreciate it. This is our 7th one now so they’ve come to expect Blackthorn to be at a certain level and it’s up to us to deliver.”

That expectation includes edging the 75 bunkers along the course, making sure the sprinkler heads are visible for players to judge yardage, and of course the landscaping and mulching to give the course an extra pop.

“Being our seventh [time hosting], they know that what we do is what they’re expecting," said Quickstad. "The first couple, they worked off of a checklist, but to be perfectly honest, that checklist was not a lot different than what were going to do anyway. So there’s really no demands, just having the course as we have it daily.”

While it's a massive list of responsibilities, it's a labor of love for the crew. Not only provide a playable course, but the tournament gives them a chance to showcase their talents that are often seen but not necessarily noticed.

“The bigger the crowds, the more excitement," said Quickstad. "You get to walk around a nice course and see some really good golf.”

The first round of the Four Winds Invitational takes place on Friday, June 8.



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