What does it take to prepare a course for one of the world’s most prestigious events in golf? We had a chance to find out firsthand with the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.

Located just a half hour from Toro’s U.S. headquarters in Bloomington, Minn., Hazeltine has partnered with The Toro Company since the course first opened in 1962. Today, Toro is the course’s exclusive provider of turf maintenance equipment and irrigation solutions — products that played a major role in getting ready for this event.


Setting the Stage
Hazeltine superintendent Chris Tritabaugh and his crew started preparing for the six-day match-play competition over a year in advance. Working with the PGA, they made sure the course was prepared to exact specifications for everything from tent location to tree removal to heights of cut.

As tournament time drew closer, Tritabaugh assembled a team of volunteers by networking on social media and reaching out to the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association (MGCSA). Even members of the Hazeltine greens and tournament committees joined in. In all, about 120 volunteers from five different countries around the world helped with the event.

Ramping Up With Toro Equipment
To support the massive volunteer effort, Toro channel partner MTI Distributing delivered additional Toro equipment in August. Volunteers began working en masse in early September to maintain the pristine conditions created by Tritabaugh and his team.


Crews used Toro Greensmaster® walk mowers on greens, and Greensmaster® 1000 and 1600 mowers on approaches, aprons and tee boxes. They also used Reelmaster® 3550 and 3555 mowers on the fairways, as well as Groundsmaster® 3500, 4500 and 4700 mowers plus TurfMaster™ walk rotaries on the roughs. Other equipment included Workman® GTX and HDX utility vehicles, GreensPro® 1240 greens rollers, TransPro™ 100 trailers, and Pro Force™ debris blowers to clean fairways and surrounds.


With so many volunteers on hand, having operator-friendly, intuitive equipment was a key benefit. Basic training was provided when necessary, but it was a quick learning curve, since many volunteers were familiar with Toro turf maintenance equipment.

Taking Stock
Looking back, the event was a tremendous success, due in large part to the work many people did behind the scenes. “It was long days and short nights, but it’s something you can be proud of when you look at the global impact of an event like that,” says crew member Jeff Drake, district sales manager at Toro.

Drake was also impressed with how everyone involved worked together toward a common goal. “The camaraderie that was formed between the U.S. volunteers and the international volunteers was incredible,” Drake says. “It was just a great bonding experience. Then to culminate in a U.S. victory and have beautiful weather — you couldn’t ask for anything more.”


What Matters Most
That spirit of working together extends beyond the Ryder Cup. In fact, it’s been at the core of Toro and MTI Distributing’s relationship with Hazeltine for many years.

“What matters most for Hazeltine is having a supplier they can count on,” says Tony Ferguson, senior golf marketing and business development manager at The Toro Company. “They trusted Toro to ensure the course was in top condition for the Ryder Cup — and to help them keep it that way. But that trust doesn’t end there. Our goal is to provide products, services and support for all our customers — where and when they need them — whether they’re preparing for a major championship or hosting guests for everyday play.”

Want more behind-the-scenes content showing Toro equipment in action at the Ryder Cup? Check out the Events section for photos, videos and commentary posted during the event.