Brighter flowers offer colorful splash
Pastels are replaced with reds, yellows, purples and oranges
Thursday, June 02, 2005
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Some spectators are charged up about the amplified power this week at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
"Beautiful, . . . just amazing, . . . a touch of elegance," said Kim Sharp of Fort Wayne, Ind.
It's not the swing of Tiger Woods that has Sharp and others talking.
It's the flowers.
Gahanna native Nancy Jo Russell compared the floral displays on the Dublin course to those at the storied home of the Masters in Georgia.
"The geraniums here just pop out at you," she said. "They're like having the azaleas at Augusta."
Memorial founder Jack Nicklaus has declared his course in tiptop condition - an assessment that includes the flowers, modestly rated an 11.5 on a scale of 10 by the grounds crew.
Part of the appeal: a bolder and brighter color scheme.
Uprooting tradition, horticulturists replaced drab pastels with reds, yellows, purples and oranges, transforming the 30 course gardens from an accessory to a main attraction.
"It's all eye-catching material," Muirfield assistant horticulturist Ed Hornyak said. "Nothing was worth looking at before."
Hornyak and his supervisor, Zack Sowers, teamed on the work with tournament contractor Bountiful Growers, a Sunbury greenhouse and nursery.
The colors historically were muted to keep them from being distracting, but course officials decided that the golfers are too focused to notice.
"I don't pay any attention to the flowers," said Steve Flesch, confirming the theory. "I try to stay out of them."
Jonathan Kaye notices but doesn't consider them diversions.
"They're very nice," he said.
The course features about two-dozen varieties in its 25,000 well-mulched flowers, which filled 10 semitrailers.
Bountiful Gardens started most of the plants three months ago in its greenhouses; the course grew about 5,000 impatiens itself.
In a race against the clock, 10 volunteers installed the flowers during two weekends before the tournament.
"The golf course wants everything to look like it has been there for months," said Greg Cannon, who with his wife, Jane, co-owns Bountiful Gardens.
One of the most beautiful beds - on a hillside near the fifth green - stops visitors in their tracks as they enter the grounds from the parking lot at the No. 6 tee.
"That garden is the first thing we saw when we came in here, so we decided that this would be a good place to sit," said Betty Moore of Napoleon, who with her husband, Don, made her first trip to the tournament. "We picked the right place to come."
Other hillside gardens are found on Nos. 12 and 15. And garden enthusiasts have the lodge, clubhouse and pavilion displays to appreciate, too.
"I just come here to see the landscaping," said 38-year-old Sherri Macik of Dublin. "I don't even know who these golfers are."