Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Hot Start, Meeting Expectations, and Links Love Affair!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Wednesday, July 4th and allow me to wish everyone a very happy Independence Day!  I know you're probably planning some golf and/or family activities for today's holiday so I promise not to keep you long.  In typical Charlotte fashion it's warm and humid as the dog days of summer have arrived.  We'll talk a little about how June stacked up to recent summers, the impact of heat and humidity to our bentgrass putting greens, I'll give everyone a reminder of next week's course closure for fairway aeration, and then I have something extra for all the nerdy links golf lovers if you're interested.  So let's get started.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year thus far as we nearly tied a record high from 1931 not to mention the heat index reached 108 degrees F!
If you've been thinking it's been warm lately you're not mistaken.  After winter lingered far too long into spring the pattern changed when June arrived.  After averaging 3.89 inches rain each of the first five months of 2018, June saw our lowest total with only 1.68 inches.  The number of days we have reached 90 degrees F or above is the most since 2011 making the summer of 2018 a warm one for starters.

Despite the heat I'm very pleased to announce our greens have fared the first month of summer in excellent condition.  Usually this time of year I'm saying things like, "One Down and Two to Go" referencing the months of meteorological summer.  This year is no different, it always feels good to have one in the books but it feels even better this year because we are exceeding your expectations.
June 29, 2018
We recently wrapped up two major events, Donald Ross Day and The Ross Cup and the feedback I've received regarding the condition of our putting surfaces and the course as a whole has been overwhelmingly positive.  It's little things like the text exchange below and the tweet from Graham Stephens that make all the team's hard work worthwhile.   

"Near perfect", I'll take that after the hottest day of the year.  This past Monday we vented the greens to promote gas exchange and applied preventive fungicide as the heat wave continues.  Good news is there is some immediate relief in sight as a significant cool down with lower humidity arrives this weekend.  Not sure how long the reprieve will last but it's always nice to catch your breath even briefly during the dog days.

ICYMI - the course will be closed this coming Monday and Tuesday (July 9 and 10) for fairway aeration.  You may recall this was postponed from mid June due to a scheduling conflict.  During the course closure we will apply approximately 300 tons of sand topdressing to our 30 acres of tees, fairways, and approaches.  The areas will also receive a solid tine aeration.  
Despite our wealth of large equipment the process is very time consuming necessitating the two-day closure.  For those of you that follow on Twitter, yes you can keep tabs on our progress as I've already received one request for live action videos. :)
And finally, I said I would have a little something for the links lovers out there.  The Irish Open starts tomorrow, this year played at Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal.  Here's a cool video promoting this year's event featuring their course manager tending to the links.

Then it's off to East Lothian, Scotland for this year's Scottish Open played over the links at Gullane Golf Club.  I know from following Gullane's course manager, Steward Duff things have been unseasonably warm and dry and the links are a bit toasty.  You may recall last month seeing a video of a toppled hospitality tent making the rounds on social media.  That was at Gullane during the build out for this year's event when Storm Hector wreaked a little havoc on the region CLICK HERE.  Also, the tournament's website is featuring this neat 360 degree map of the links you might enjoy CLICK HERE.  

After that it's off to Carnoustie for the playing of the 147th Open Championship.  Craig Boath, Head Greenkeeper at Carnoustie Golf Links and the team has been putting the finishing touches on the old links for some time now.  
So there you have it, three weeks of links golf, how can you not be excited.  Hope everyone enjoys today, celebrates safely and looking forward to seeing you next time.
See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG


  1. question and comment: who is Graham Stevens and the course is closed on Mondays anyway.

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