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Keeping on course at the U.S. Open

The quiet farm community of Hartford, WI took center stage of the golf world in June 2017 for the prestigious U.S. Open. Erin Hills Golf Course, 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, was the site of the United States Golf Association’s (USGA) premier golf event that has a worldwide audience and takes years of planning.

Preparing the 652 acre (263 hectare) golf course and the surrounding area for the U.S. Open was a huge undertaking. With up to 35,000 spectators, hundreds of workers, volunteers and TV crews expected each day, plus 156 golfers vying for a total prize package of $12 million, the stakes were high for the USGA and Erin Hills to host an event without any glitches. After years of planning and preparation, the course was in pristine shape and ready for play to begin. But even with all the details and logistics ready, the USGA could not predict with weather. Contingency plans were in place to repair any damage caused to the terrain by rain during the week-long tournament. Wacker Neuson was fortunate to be part of these plans through Mottin Golf Course Renovations, LLC of Malvern, PA.

The USGA placed its trust in Mottin Golf to make any needed repairs to the course or walkways as a result of rain or other unpredictable circumstances. A crew from Mottin Golf, along with their Wacker Neuson 5-ton wheel dumpers, were placed on standby and prepared to jump into action at a moment’s notice.

After the first day of practice rounds, the Wisconsin skies opened over Erin Hills and delivered over half an inch (1.27 cm) of rain, which was enough to set the crew in motion. Jim Suderley, project manager, Mottin Golf Course Renovations explained, “We are here at the U.S. Open, 900 miles from home, under contract with the USGA. The initial process is just to have us out here on call. That way if any inclement weather does happen, we are ready to go with the Wacker Neuson dumpers to lay wood chips or stone, anything that will make the day easier for the spectators, camera crews, volunteers and also the players.”

The Mottin Golf team’s main job was to move large quantities of mulch with the help of the 5-ton dumpers from the back service yard, to the heavily traveled dirt paths around the course. The dumpers, designed for off-road travel and maneuverability in tight spaces, were able to quickly deliver and place the wood chips throughout the site without causing disruption to the spectators, players or the grounds. “We like the rotating bed (swivel skip) that allows us to dump small quantities of materials at a time” Suderley said. “It makes it easier for our workers to place it more precisely and maximize the product to the golf course. This increases our workability, we aren’t dumping all 5-tons of materials at once.”

Mottin Golf has a multi-year agreement with the USGA. Suderley explained, “We got the contract when Doug Mottin, the president of our company, provided exemplary service to Merion (Merion Golf Club, Haverford, PA) during the 2013 U.S. Open. We came in late at night, laying down wood chips, stone and hay for the walkways. As a result of our quality work, assisted by the Wacker Neuson dumpers, we landed another four U.S. Open contracts.”

Mottin Golf specializes in golf course construction and bunker, green and tee restoration. “We really do anything the superintendent wants us to do to improve their golf course and better their playability,” Suderley said. “We use Wacker Neuson’s 5-ton and 6-ton dumpers in all our restoration projects. We selected them because of their versatility on the golf course.”