Thursday, January 10, 2019

Be Back Soon!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Thursday, January 10th and let me start by wishing each of you Happy New Year!  It's hard to imagine 2018 is now behind us, what an amazing year for our club, one that contained several different occurrences, many of which were weather related.  But before I give you the stats on where 2018 ranked weather wise I have some big news to share.

I'm returning to Harrogate, England for the BIGGA Turf Management Exposition (BTME) week after next.  But this time I'm speaking at the conference.  You may or may not recall in mid-November I shared on Twitter good friend and colleague Lee Strutt of Royal Automobile Club visited Carolina.  Lee and his wife Sami are dear friends and we had a wonderful time showing them around the Queen City for a couple days while visiting on holiday.  
Anyway, more than one year ago Lee and I started exchanging messages and ideas that morphed into a seminar topic.  We proposed our idea to BIGGA back in the spring, and in June were informed we had been accepted to present at Continue to Learn during BTME.  I shared the news with General Manager Billy Cleveland and he spoke with Club President William Smith and I was granted permission to accept the invitation.  I want to take this opportunity to say thank you both again for this opportunity, I greatly appreciate the excused absence.
Excused absence you ask?  You see, this year BTME falls the same week as the Annual Meeting, which means unfortunately I will not be available to make the annual Greens Committee presentation.  But don't fret, Committee Chairman Ed Oden has agreed to make the presentation, and I know he is excited to share with you a look back at 2018 from his perspective.  Truth is the Committee Chairman gave the presentation in my first few years with the club, I believe the first year I presented was 2010, so maybe you'll enjoy a change of pace.  

In other related news, something else very exciting will be taking place while I'm attending BTME.  BIGGA gives out AWARDS annually for several greenkeeping categories.  This year the categories are Greenkeeping Project of the Year, Outstanding Contribution of the Year, and Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year.  I'm excited to share we were selected as a finalist for Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year for our work during the 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur.  

The other finalists are Stuart Duff and the team at Gullane Golf Club as they hosted both the Men's and Ladies' Scottish Opens in 2018, and Craig Earnshaw and the team at Harleyford Golf Club as they hosted the Matchroom Sport Championship on the PGA EuroPro Tour.  Congrats to them both!  Regardless of the outcome, it's an absolute thrill just to be a finalist and have my team's accomplishments recognized.  After all, they did produce major championship conditions on the heels of FLORENCE and it will be an honor to represent them and Carolina Golf Club during the ceremony.  Ironically, the award presentation is the same evening as the Annual Meeting so cross your fingers and maybe there will be some late breaking exciting news to add.

So, a year like 2018 had a little bit of everything.  We started the year with record cold and as a result encountered some winter injury of bermudagrass when spring finally arrived.  Turf repairs were made in time for summer to arrive with both warmer and drier than average conditions.  With about six weeks to go before the Mid-Am the course was showing typical signs of summer stress, but the pattern changed permitting moisture flow from the south and rainfall began to come in waves.  We endured two tropical systems, Florence and Michael plus several other rain events with equal or even higher amounts.  When the clock finally struck midnight on 2018 we had accumulated 58.6 inches precipitation at Carolina Golf Club.  That's the wettest year in my tenure and the 8th wettest year in Charlotte history.  

The rainfall totals over the last four months of 2018 looked like this: Sep 9.38 inches (Florence), Oct 5.63 inches (Michael), Nov 6.60 inches, and Dec 8.00 inches!  That's nearly 30 inches (29.61") rainfall, or approximately 75% of one year's worth (Charlotte averages about 40 inches rainfall annually) during what is usually some of the best golf weather we encounter each year.  Oh well, here's hoping 2019 brings us better weather for plant health, course conditions, and more importantly - playable days!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG