Tuesday, February 11, 2020

How Do You Like Your Eggs!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Tuesday, February 11th and it's raining again.  Forgive me, I don't mean to lament the weather but this current pattern is enough to drive a person mad.  I mean, let's just examine the events of last week alone and you will see how Charlotte experienced "multiple seasons" in less than seven days.

Monday, February 3rd was by far one of the nicest days all winter.  It was sunny, warm and the temperature climbed all the way to 73 degrees.  You can definitely say it felt like spring.  By Saturday, February 8th we reached a morning low of 28 degrees, the high temperature only made it to 39 degrees, and for a couple of hours just passed midday large snowflakes fell across the Queen City.  Definitely a winter day.

And this time of year, it is impossible to transition from one set of conditions to the other without experiencing severe weather.  Thursday, February 6th saw over three inches of rain fall on Carolina Golf Club and the National Weather Service has confirmed seven tornadoes touched down in various parts of the greater metro area!
We were very fortunate to not encounter any major tree or structural damage related to the storms.  Our good friends at Carmel Country Club unfortunately were not and lost many trees (I've heard estimates near 300) on both the North and South Courses combined as they were in the direct path of one of the confirmed tornadoes.  My heart goes out to Brannon Goodrich, Director of Greens and Grounds Agronomy and the entire team at Carmel CC as they clean up and repair the damage.  Many of you long-term members may remember the famed Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1994 and the impacts to Carolina Golf Club as we were in the path.
In other weather related news.  January brought us 5.11 inches rain.  This was the third time in the past four years our rainfall total in January exceed five inches.  We've already received 4.50 inches rainfall this month and it's expected to rain most of today and there's an 80% chance Thursday.  And we all thought madness was reserved for March.  ;) 

So, how do a group of greenkeepers maintain their sanity during weather like this.  Well, writing is certainly therapeutic which is why I am updating the blog.  Continuing education is another good way to step away from the course and stimulate the brain.  I spent four days in Orlando, Florida the last week of January attending the Golf Industry Show (more on that later).  Today assistants Matthew Miller and Matthew Rollyson are attending an Irrigation Troubleshooting Workshop at Smith Turf and Irrigation.  Next week Matt and Matt will accompany Senior Assistant Eric Sosnowski to the North South Turfgrass Association Education Meeting at Tega Cay.  There they will hear from two N.C. State University professors, Dr. Jim Kerns - Optimizing Fungicide Efficacy for Root Diseases and Dr. Travis Gannon - Preemergent Herbicide Options and Application Timings.  

One of the great things about greenkeeping is the ever changing nature of the business.  Whether it's environmental changes, regulatory changes, technological changes and more, there is always a need to stay educated and abreast of what is taking place within the industry.  The Golf Industry Show held annually and presented in partnership by the GCSAA, ASGCA, and GCBAA is the single largest education conference and trade show in the world for those in the business of designing, building and maintaining golf courses.  This past GIS was my 19th overall and 18th consecutive, and one of my busiest as I packed a lot into four days.

On Day One I was honored to co-present the Master Greenkeeper Workshop with Course Manager David Langheim, MG of Wimbledon Park Golf Club before attending two education sessions later that same day.  On Day Two I had the good fortune to join an illustrious panel that included Anthony Williams, CGCS from Four Seasons Los Colinas, Andrew Wilson from Bethpage State Park, Lukas Harvey from Atlanta Athletic Club, Josh Heptig from San Luis Obispo and moderator Bob Scott from Irrigation Consultant Services, Inc.

We discussed Irrigation Renovations with a large audience swapping stories from our collective experience.  Day Three was the trade show which meant there were lots to see and many people to meet before attending our chapter reception that evening.  I started Day Four as a volunteer Turf Bowl grader.  What a fun experience to sit between Lee McLemore, CGCS from the Country Club of Birmingham and Alan Fitzgerald of Ledgerock Golf Club in Pennsylvania and pour over dozens of written essays.  I was thrilled later that evening when my alma mater, Virginia Tech managed a Top 10 finish.  Go Hokies!

Following the Turf Bowl grading session I made my way back to the trade show floor where I was invited by the Toro Company and Andy Johnson, host of The Fried Egg Podcast to appear on the podcast live inside the Toro booth.  We had a small audience and were joined by Edric Funk, Director of the Center for Technology, Research and Innovation for Toro.  
Photo Courtesy of Ian Daniels, GCS Teugega C.C.
The three of us had a fun conversation about some challenges we face in the industry and how some emerging technologies may help bring a solution to those challenges.  If you don't subscribe or listen to podcasts on your mobile device you can listen on Andy's website. CLICK HERE 

For those of you familiar with Andy's podcast this will be different as we stepped away from the normal discussions about great golf course architecture.  Ironically Andy approached me about being a guest last fall when he and one of his colleagues traveled to North and South Carolina visiting Old Town Club, Roaring Gap, and Palmetto Golf Club to name a few (check out episodes 158 and 159).  Unfortunately I wasn't available as that coincided with my trip to Ireland, so Andy will just have to make the trek to Charlotte some time this year to experience Carolina Golf Club.  Then we can set up the mics in my office and talk Donald Ross, Kris Spence, restoration and all the other good nerdy stuff we're accustomed to.

Well, that's all for now.  Looks like we've got a small break in the rain so time to get the team in action.  Hopefully this update will find you warm and dry, and hopefully this wet pattern breaks and we can enjoy some golf at Carolina Golf Club soon.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG