Wednesday, July 9, 2014

3rd Wettest Summer on Record

In the past 38 days, 25 have seen rain at O'hare with a total of 9.17" or rain (normal would be 4.29").  At Biltmore we have had 9.05" of rain over the same period of time.  In 2013, at Biltmore (same time frame) we had 11.62" or rain, with 8.5" all in one day, for a total of 13 days of rain.  This year we have had 22 days with rain (out of the last 38 days).  Not only has it been rainy, but humidity levels have been much higher than normal.  So far this year we have only had to water greens a few times.  Fairways and rough, I can not even remember when.  Some might say, we are saving money not watering, but at Biltmore we are always pumping water - in our situation, excess water is being removed by the large pumps located by the creek on #15.  The irrigation pumps have seen a reduction, but the de-watering pumps have been running more than normal.

For the golf course, this has caused a disruption in our planned maintenance, especially with respect to greens.  Monday's are our single most important and  busy day.  The last few Mondays we have had overly wet conditions and/or high temps/humidity which have restricted planned maintenance.  Our normal schedule is to every other week verticut, topdress and hand drag greens, on the other Monday's we needle tine aerify.  In addition to that, we spray growth regulators, fungicides, and wetting agents typically on Monday's (but not the same Monday) as some of these have to be watered in to activate the product.  This is just greens, but the same types of programs are also done on tees and fairways.

When we lose work on a Monday, the maintenance schedule is shifted out of sequence and the effect can sometimes be seen on the course.  To most golfers they might see slower, bumper greens.  

This past Monday, we played catch-up and verticut, hand topdressed, needle tine and hand dragged greens.  This took up the full work day to complete - 10 hours, is our "normal" work day on Monday.  The crew did  great job and went home very tired.  Unfortunately it was to wet for cutting rough, and we had to spend the day clearing the course of branches blown down in the storm Sunday night.  We are now in the process of catching up on the rough and the greens are looking much better after finally being able to do some much needed maintenance.

Today we were finally able to really start cutting rough.  We have all 5 of our rough mowers cutting today.   Some have asked why we don't cut rough when it is dry, to reduce piles of clippings.  The issue with that is we would not be able to start until 10 or 11AM.  With Biltmore being such a tight course, our productivity would drop to a point that we would not be feasible (due to waiting on golfers).  Our normal day starts at 5AM, and this is when we are most productive and easier on the equipment and operators (cooler).