Thursday, August 3, 2017

This Summer's Weather and the Impact on the Course

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

For the first half of summer, the average low temperature for the months of June and July have been 57 and 60 degrees; while the average high temperatures have been 78 degrees and 82 degrees. Comparing this year’s temperature averages with the historical average, for the month of June and July, is 3 degrees warmer. However, the big difference between this year’s start of summer with the historical average is the amount of precipitation. This past June and July we totaled 10”, while the average total for June and July is 7.4”.

A view all too common this summer……rainy and cloudy.

Not only is the total accumulation higher but the frequency as well. In fact, 27 out of the 61 days we have received rain; that’s just below an average of receiving rain every other day. A couple of positive results from the amount and frequency of rain we have received this year. First, as of today, we have used approximately 55% less irrigation than a typical year. Secondly, since adding seed to the divot bottles, the divot recovery has been much more quick and successful. Pictured below is an example of how the frequent rains have help germinate and keep alive the seedlings in the middle of the divot, while the sides grow together.

 Frequent rains have help germinate and keep alive the seedlings in the middle of the divot,
while the sides grow together.

However, with the above average rain, temperatures and humidity, comes slower and less desirable playing conditions, mainly on the greens and fairways.  From a playability standpoint, rain will soften the playing surface and slow ball roll.  How the Grounds Department lessened the issue is this past June we aerified the fairways.  By introducing ½” holes into the ground, we were not only speeding up the drying process but also providing a void for the surface water to get underground quicker.  For greens, we have increased the frequency of sand topdressing and verticutting. 
Verticutting greens provides a more upright stand of turf

Topdressing greens will firm the surface 

The result, when both verticutting and topdressing greens are performed, is the turf stands more upright with a firmer surface. The more upright the turf, the less amount of turf friction you experience (less friction = more ball roll).

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