Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ready, Set, Florence!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  There's an advertisement from a few years back centered on greenkeeping CLICK HERE that I simply love.  Two lines that resonate are, "You learn the weathers, the rough and the smooth,"  and "You can't control a golf course, but you can encourage it".   Today is Saturday, September 15th and we are currently experiencing rough weather as Florence has made her way into the Queen City.  The decision to close the golf course was made very early this morning as I assessed current course conditions (covered in small debris) married with what was quickly approaching.
One week from today the 2018 U.S. Mid-Am is scheduled to begin and here we are dealing with a major tropical storm.  Fortunately we've known about Florence's arrival for some time and a lot of work was accomplished this week to "encourage" the golf course to quickly recover once this tropical storm safely passes.  My team and I have applied plant growth regulator to all tees, fairways, approaches and surrounds twice this week (the forecast changed about midday Tuesday) in effort to limit growth since we don't know exactly when we will be able to mow those surfaces again.  We've applied wetting agent to the putting greens to promote rapid water infiltration and faster draining.  We even topdressed greens late Thursday evening with two tons of sand in advance of the approaching heavy rains to help keep the greens firm. 
This forecast is for more rain than we saw ten years ago when the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay dumped over 8 inches rain on Charlotte.  That was late August and we were trying to wrap up the grow-in of our restoration lead by Kris Spence.  We were nearly out of irrigation water as our reservoir was more than 12 feet below full pond, after Fay the reservoir was only about one foot below capacity.  Currently our irrigation reservoir is about 4 to 5 feet below full pond so I'm anticipating the lake to refill and lots of water to flow out through the spillway.
Earlier today I made the final course preparations as surface drain inlets were opened to promote the unimpeded flow of water and I removed all the flagsticks to prevent heaving and damage in high winds.  We've always said the course drains well and now we'll just leave her in God's hands and see how it goes.  I'll be back at the course in the morning to assess rainfall amounts and any potential changes in other conditions.  You can keep up with the regular updates on Twitter.  Here's hoping Florence decides to take it easy on the Queen City and I hope and pray each of you are safe and sound.

Stay safe,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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