Monday, November 16, 2020

November Update!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Monday, November 16th and Dustin Johnson is the Masters champion!  In a year unlike any of us have ever endured we were treated this past weekend to a Masters tournament unlike any of us will probably ever see again.  The annual right of spring was played in the fall.  Patrons were absent and so were the patron stands that align many of the holes.  We saw more of the golf course than ever before and we saw it in a condition we're not completely accustomed.  And thankfully, none of that mattered and instead we were treated to some unbelievable golf and a worthy champion in world number one, Dustin Johnson.

It's hard to believe with everything we have all endured this year that we simultaneously were able to experience a Masters unlike any other, to steal a phrase from Jim Nantz.  By the way, Jim was named the 2021 Old Tom Morris Award winner by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.  Congratulations Jim! Click here for press release. 

So, during my last update I talked about how the course had endured three tropical storms in recent weeks and the impacts of each.  I also referenced how that last storm, Delta dropped the most rain (3.56 inches) and I voiced a concern for potential herbicide runoff injury.  And despite a conversation with the technical representative that hinted to a positive outcome we did in fact suffer a little injury unfortunately.  Areas on the second and eleventh greens are exhibiting the symptoms of herbicide runoff and we are in the midst of initiating repairs.

Hole 2

But, this is 2020 and it seems three tropical storms and herbicide runoff weren't enough.  So last week we endured a unique rain event.  Gulf moisture from Eta was draping our region for a couple of days.  We had dew points in the low 70s and that is summertime humidity folks.  As the cold front approached from the northeast the two air masses were colliding and kicking off a line of thunderstorms and tropical rainfall not typically seen in November.  

When the skies finally cleared Thursday, November 12th Carolina Golf Club had received over four inches of rainfall (4.28") in a short period of time.  While my team and I waited out the storm in the safety of the Turf Care Center we watched the news reports of fire and rescue on the scene pulling stranded motorists from their vehicles on Interstate 85!  It rained so much, so fast that ground water levels pushed our new SubAir unit out of the ground!

What the What!

In my fifteen years at CGC I would rank last Thursday's flash flood in the top 3 behind only Fay (2008) and Florence (2018).  I shared the photo below with former assistant Matt Claunch as we were texting back and forth comparing storm totals, etc. as Eta was more prominent in Florida than here as the cold front pushed it off the coast.

I told Matt, "A is the footbridge from 17 and B is where A is supposed to be!"  Yes, I included a facepalm emoji with that text.  Anyway, the good news is the rain stopped, the golf course survived, and by Saturday we were able to permit golf cars on the fairways.  We are very fortunate to have a golf course designed to shed and remove water across and off the property quickly.  When these events happen I thank God for Donald Ross and Kris Spence each and every time.

In other news we recently removed the overgrown switchgrass from behind the 17th Ross tee and seeded to a fescue mixture.  This was a project we discussed at the committee level for sometime but it kept getting rescheduled with labor and other issues earlier this year.  Now with the team back to full strength and a brief reprieve between storms ;) we were able to take advantage.

Also, I'm happy to report today we are able to dedicate time to the bunkers.  All these recent storms have wreaked havoc on the sand, etc. and today we are spinning the bunkers to break up all the compacted sand, check depths and redistribute where necessary, then smooth and roll the edges to reestablish our raking pattern for play going forward.  
Well, that's all for now.  Let's hope we don't have any other major weather related issues before my next post.  I hope to be back on November 25 for my annual Thanksgiving list.  Until then... 

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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