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Solheim Cup course causes concerns

Loch Lomond, which Nick Faldo once praised as "the best inland course in Europe", will not be looking at its best for the Solheim Cup next week because the greens are a mess.

Ian Randell, the tournament director, however, was confident that the greens, while lacking in aesthetic appeal, would be fine from a practical point of view. "They're still improving," he said yesterday and he will be inspecting their progress today with Dale Reid, Europe's captain for the match against the United States and Ken Siems, the greenkeeper.

Randell explained the problem. "They're bent grass greens but they have meadow grass growing through them and every year they're given the same treatment to kill it off. This year, Ken misgauged how much chemical to use, but he is convinced they will be fine and will putt and play fine."

Reid saw the greens earlier this month and said, "they were pretty scary looking. They were black and muddy, with bits of weed in them and they've had a lot of rain at Loch Lomond since, which hasn't helped.

"It's a shame because the fairways were immaculate, like carpet, but I'm told the greens are playable and they should putt okay and roll okay. They're just not going to look very nice."

Randell confirmed that there were no contingency plans to move the match and, in fact, he was more anxious about the weather. "They've had eight and a half inches of rain in September," he said, "and the course has held up great but we could do with a dry week. We need some luck."

At this time of year, in a part of the world that boasts three of the wettest spots in the country within a five-mile radius, a sudden dry spell seems improbable. Spectators would be well advised to travel armed with waterproofs, umbrellas and waders.


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