Pittsford, N.Y. — Putting on a golf tournament is a big job.
Organizing a major tournament that will draw tens of thousands of people in person, one which will be watched by millions, is a monumental task.
At Oak Hill Country Club, one man is leading the team that’ll put on next year’s PGA Championship.
"Obviously people in this region love golf," said PGA Championship Director Bryan Karns. "They consider this their professional sport. It’s almost a birthright to have championships here."
Karns has a big hand in that.
"This is such a special place," Karns said. "An incredible membership, incredible community, just sort of all the superlatives you kind of run out of because this place just has it all."
Oak Hill is known for hosting majors. The PGA Championship was last held there in 2013. The Senior PGA was there three years ago. For the world’s best golfers, it’s a challenge.
"Everything just comes at you like a beast," said Karns. "But that’s what’s so fun about watching the top golfers in the world come tackle it. It really pushes them to their limit."
Golf fans will notice a lot of changes. Many of the old trees on the east course are gone. Many greens have been rebuilt and they’re surrounded by sand.
"The trend right now," said Karns, "they don't call them renovations as much as restorations, because basically what they're doing is going back to some of the original designs."
Karns spent the past two years in his native Oklahoma, where he oversaw both the PGA Championship and Senior PGA in consecutive years. His call to Rochester this time was last-minute. But he knows this course well, having directed the Senior PGA at Oak Hill in 2019.
"It's created an interesting situation but that's where the strength of this club and the community really, really helps us out," Karns said.
Running a tournament doesn’t give Karns much time to play. He calls his own golf game lousy.
"Fortunately my bosses care a little bit more about my ability to run things, to plan things outside the ropes and anything inside the ropes," he said.
Outside the ropes, next May, Oak Hill will be transformed into a global golf village, hosting tens of thousands of fans, mesmerized by what’s happening inside the ropes.
"It's one of the hardest tests of golf I think there is," Karns said. "And so to have the chance to come back here and build on the legacy. I know the club, I know myself, we're all just over the moon."