Royal St. George’s well-coiffed greenskeeper has lit Twitter on fire

royal st george's greenskeepr

A glimpse of the man who's stolen the hearts of golf fans everywhere ahead of the Open Championship.

Twitter | @RyanLavnerGC | Golf Channel

At their core, the major championships are a breeding ground for golf’s greatest characters. With so much history tied into the outcome of golf’s four elusive championships, it’s easy to understand why it seems the finest characters have a habit of appearing when the lights shine brightest.

On Wednesday at the Open, a new major championship hero was birthed. His name is Paul Larsen.

Larsen is head greenskeeper at this year’s Open Championship host, the famed Royal St. George’s. He is also owner of one of golf’s most aspirational looks, as he proved in an interview spot on Golf Channel during Wednesday’s practice round. The greenskeeper rolled into his interview rocking blackout sunglasses, long, dark hair and the energy of a man who’s spent far too much time obsessing over grass types, and social media loved it.

Larsen’s social media accounts say he has been head greenskeeper at Royal St. George’s since 2010, meaning he was in charge when the Open last made its way to Sandwich, Kent in 2011.

It’s possible, and perhaps even likely, that Larsen was around to enjoy his Twitter star explode this morning. He is an active user of the platform, sharing videos and photos from his work on the course ahead of the final major of the 2021 golf season.

In a video interview with Golf Digest, Larsen broke down the process of preparing for a major championship and explained his role in bringing the course into peak conditions.

“It started seven years ago really,” he said. “Since 2018 leading into 2019 and even 2020, we’ve been working so hard trying to get the fescue grass coverage back. The one question that always comes back to me is that we want to see the rough thick, we want to see it tough. So really, the secret will be you’ve got to keep it straight. If it all comes down to the weather, and you think it’s going to be quite windy, we’ll guard against getting the greens too fast.”

From his perspective, there are a few elements of the golf course to keep in mind as you tune into this action at Royal St. George’s later this week.

“The tees are to die for. Pure fescue, so I love them. The greens are very good, we’ve got a combination of fescue and [bentgrass], though probably a bit more bent than I’d like,” he said. “The fairways, when I think how they were in 2018 to how they are now, it’s amazing, it’s mind blowing. And then the semi-rough is fantastic. I’m very proud of the guys, we did it the old-fashioned ways of hand-dressing and seeding. So really, I need to buy them a glass of champagne to say thank you.”

It’s still too soon to tell how the best players in the world will fare against Paul Larsen’s masterpiece in the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, but this much is clear: at least one hero has emerged from the men’s final major of the year.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.