After seeing the course on TV for so many years, Robert Edmonson finally got a chance to see Torrey Pines in person. Edmonson, a director of golf course maintenance at a course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama, was one of five Toro customers nominated by local Toro distributors to work as a volunteer in daily operations for 10 days in the lead-up to and during the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California, Jan. 25 – 28.

The five recipients got a behind-the-scenes look at the operations of a PGA Tour event, opportunities to network with industry professionals and a chance to get their hands dirty at a premier golf course.

Photo Credit: Turf Star Western

Torrey Pines is one of the most recognized and prestigious municipal courses in North America, with multiple holes spanning the coastline and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A host to two U.S. Open Championships, Torrey Pines depends on Toro equipment and irrigation to deliver tournament quality conditions — which, as Edmonson and the other recipients discovered, requires a lot of manpower. 

“It was interesting to see and understand some of the challenges the staff at Torrey Pines face… You only have so much time to get everything ready in the morning,” Edmonson said. “And with the shorter days right now, you’re even more crunched for time.”

The recipients assisted Torrey Pines staff and other volunteers with data collection, hand watering, bunker preparation, divot repair and other duties.

“They had a lot of rain the previous week, so we were working a little bit harder than I thought we were going to,” said Brendon Suess, another recipient from Cherry Hill Golf Club in Ontario, Canada. “But that was part of the whole opportunity — to see the work that goes into it.”

Suess worked with other volunteers raking bunkers on the back nine of the South Course, and said networking and building relationships was one of his biggest takeaways from the trip. 

Photo Credit: Turf Star Western

“Having other guys with me was a nice way to meet people and learn where they’re from, what clubs they work at and how they operate,” Suess said. “By the end of the 10 days, I got to visit with almost every volunteer there, plus some of the workers at Torrey Pines.”

Photo Credit: Turf Star Western

Like Suess, Edmonson spent time hand-raking bunkers and edging cart paths, as well as tending to detail-oriented tasks to maintain the overall look of the course while building relationships with other volunteers, with whom he’s stayed in contact.

“I really enjoyed getting to meet, work and build friendships with people from across the country and Canada,” Edmonson said. “We all learned something from each other and hopefully we’ll be able to meet up again.” 

But what Edmonson will remember most is the backdrop to end each workday. 

“I couldn’t pass up watching the sunset every evening,” Edmonson said. 

Photo Credit: Turf Star Western

To learn more about Toro’s programs and products, go to