Friday, December 9, 2016

Course Improvement Recap, Weather Update, & Fun Fact!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Friday, December 9th and there is a chill in the air.  It's hard to believe over two weeks have passed since my last update, where does the time go!  I will bring everyone up to speed on this current arctic outbreak and describe how that might impact your weekend golf in a bit.  I will also discuss the recent rain events and share with you how those have impacted the area's drought. But first let's look back on the course improvement project and then I will close with a fun fact on this Friday!

When last we checked the course improvement project was quickly coming to a close.  Kris Spence had been on site to tweak and approve the work and the last photo shared was one of the two new bunkers completely regrassed and ready to go CLICK HERE.  Since that post the other small bunker that continues the "string of pearls" was completed and regrassed.   
Completed New Bunker
After breaking for Thanksgiving the team reassembled and quickly made an improvement to the forward tee on the same hole (No. 7).  The elevation of this tee has always been slightly too low, causing it to hold water.  The turf from the tee and surrounding area was removed.  Soil was added and compacted to raise the elevation.  Then the sand cap and turf was replaced.  For the time being the tee markers have been placed in the beginning of the fairway while the turf roots down and the improved teeing area stabilizes.

Turf Removed and Soil Added
Replacing Sand Cap

Smoothing Sand Cap to Grade

Turf Replacement

View of New Finished Elevation

Fortunately the team from Golf Course Services was able to complete the tee improvement in one day because the perfect weather conditions we were experiencing over the duration of the project was about to change.  Meteorological autumn runs from September 1 through November 30, and as you can see from the graphic below we experienced our 5th warmest autumn ever this year.  When you consider we also endured a near record breaking period of consecutive dry weather it's no wonder everyday seemed like a great day to play golf!  After an all day soaking rain associated with Hurricane Matthew on October 8 we didn't receive measurable rain at Carolina Golf Club again for 35 days, and that was a mere 0.04".  We then went another 17 straight days without rain which provided perfect working conditions for our course improvement project.  
The day after we wrapped up the course improvement project it rained nearly a quarter inch.  It rained again the following day as severe weather moved through the region late that evening, spawning an EF-1 tornado in the southern part of Mecklenburg county.  Two more significant rain events earlier this week brought over 1.5 inches rain to the golf course placing a dent into the region's drought.

Since November 29 the golf course has received 2.58 inches rain and I am happy to report it soaked up every drop, helping replenish soil moisture levels just in time for winter's arrival.  Speaking of winter, looks like folks will need to layer up if they are going to brave the elements on the links this weekend.
I'm not sure which of those numbers are the most disturbing, morning lows or daytime highs, but it's safe to assume with morning lows that far below freezing this weekend that starting times will be delayed.  We will keep the Golf Staff informed with regular updates so please plan accordingly and watch your phone for push notifications via the CGC App.  

Earlier this week my staff and I prepared the golf course for winter's arrival.  Many of you recall we have covered our northward facing bunker slopes and most shaded tees to protect them from the elements for the past five years.  The team took advantage of the perfectly calm conditions this past Maintenance Monday to get the covers in place.  We also covered some of the recently completed improvement work to help protect the sod.
Current long range forecasts ensure this December will be a far cry from last year's which was the warmest ever on record in Charlotte, so don't put away those stocking caps and hand warmers too soon as you can expect another wave of arctic air to arrive by the end of next week. #winter  

Before I go I saw something this morning I found interesting and thought I would share.  There are 43,560 square feet in one acre and the folks at St. Andrews Links Trust shared just how large one of those double greens on the Old Course is.  With a standard walk-behind mower measuring 21 inches in width you can clearly see it would take one person quite a while to complete this assignment.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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