Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Brighter Days Ahead!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Wednesday, February 10th and I'm blaming the Groundhog for the fact we are still in winter's grip at Carolina Golf Club!  One of the great advantages to living in the southeast is winters can be mild, especially when compared to the snowier northeast and mid-west regions.  I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in far southwestern Virginia at a time when snow was plentiful and common.  

Through the years winters back home have become wetter, with less snow but this year Mom tells me they've experienced quite a bit, including about six inches just before Christmas!  I stated during the recent annual meeting that 2020 was our third consecutive year with over 57 inches rainfall, and you don't receive more than one foot above average with dry winters.

Our pattern seems to consist of bright blue skies and sunshine when cold air is in place.  Radiational cooling each evening (this is the loss of heat to the atmosphere via the lack of insulating cloud cover) drops our temperatures well below freezing and in turn we wake to start each day delayed with frost.  When warmer temperatures do move into the region they typically bring with them an influx of moisture and it rains, while the I40 corridor magically continues to be the sweet spot for snow.

What's the point of all this you ask?  There isn't one, other than it's therapeutic in some sorts to put my thoughts on "paper".  My wife is now just one week away from her last chemotherapy infusion, and to say the past three months have been stressful would be the understatement of the year!  In that time I've tried diligently to be a good husband, a good superintendent, a good coworker, and a good team leader all while keeping my wife, my team, and myself safe.

There are times I'm thankful this happened in the winter as it's been easier (relatively speaking) for me to assist and accompany her to appointments and treatments.  I would not wish anyone who is battling cancer to have to go it alone.  I can't imagine trying to do all I am currently for her and simultaneously keep the course alive if this were the middle of summer.

But simultaneously she's been relegated to working from home during the most bleak time of year.  Short days with gloomy cloud cover and/or cold, wet days are not really a great recipe for cheery happiness.  Oh, what I wouldn't give for a few warm, sunny days and a chance to walk around the neighborhood together.

At the end of the day she and I are just thankful we have each other along with the support of each of you.  Your thoughts, prayers and goodwill have carried us through and we look forward to the day when she can safely return to the office and everyone can enjoy seeing one another in person.  Hopefully by then spring will be here and winter will be a distant memory.  I know we're all ready for brighter days ahead.

I'm anxious for the course to green back up and for the new season to start at Carolina Golf Club.  I look forward to working with my new chairman and the newcomers to the committee.  I'm excited for the return of tournaments and events.  And I'm ready to see each of you on the course in a manner that doesn't require an extended distance and/or a mask.  

But before then we have to make our annual preemergent applications for the management of crabgrass and goosegrass.  And believe it or not, spring greens aerification is now less than three weeks away (Mar 1 & 2).  But in the meantime, she's going to ring that bell in one week!  And I can't wait!

Thanks for listening,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Hindsight is 20:20!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Thursday, January 14th and I want to wish each of you a belated Happy New Year!  I want to thank everyone at Carolina Golf Club for their continued well wishes and support as Mrs. Greenkeeper continues her fight.  I promise every card, email, and personal gesture has helped bolster her strength and courage as we carry on.  At this time she has completed four chemotherapy treatments of a prescribed six.  Her next treatment will be on January 27th and her final one is scheduled for February 17th so she is inching ever closer to ringing that bell.  

She continues to work everyday from home, so you can reach her readily via email and I continue to do my best to keep her safe as we navigate this journey through an ongoing pandemic.  That is why you see me more often from a distance and with a mask.  It has been difficult because seeing and interacting with you on a daily basis has always been one of the highlights to my day, but keeping her safe is job one.  So again, thank you all for your support!

I think the above image was one of the funniest I came across when we flipped the calendar a couple weeks ago, but despite all the connotations in that garbage bag there were some positive things that happened last year.  More golf was played at Carolina Golf Club than ever, in fact, you played more golf in April of last year than any other month. And there were no carts available the entire month of April!  As a whole, walking rounds for the entire year were up 193% over 2019, so kudos to you all for stretching those legs and making golf a staple of a healthy lifestyle!

Another interesting statistic from last year is the fact we broke the 30,000 rounds barrier while it rained nearly 60 inches and the most in Charlotte since 2003!  Prior to the pandemic and its impact on everyone's daily routines, rounds of golf would mirror the weather.  When nice, rounds were up and when less than ideal people shied away from the course.  And that is still true as it relates to those days when the weather is absolutely unplayable, but you don't play that much golf in a year with 120 measurable rain events unless you're willing to brave some elements and for that I commend you!

Another good thing to come from 2020 and was hinted in the blog's title is I was one of three winners selected on Thanksgiving day to receive a free CourseVision map of Carolina Golf Club!  Valued at $1,500 this interactive digital map is most impressive. CLICK HERE to learn more about CourseVision.

I'll admit I knew very little about the company prior to being selected, but after working with Jeff Ryan and providing his team with some property details that helped create the map, I am most impressed with the finished product and really believe its value is even far greater than retail.  I received the finished product on Monday and spent close to two hours online with Jeff being tutored on the map and its capabilities.  I'm excited to play with it and become more familiar as I believe it will serve us well as we approach our centennial.
Building Labels
The map even contains all the City Parcels containing and surrounding Carolina Golf Club.  You can see below how holes 1 and 2 along with our irrigation reservoir sit on the old Winston property acquired by the club in 2004.

City Parcels

In golf course related news, our Willow Oak and Yoshino Cherry trees were banded to protect against cankerworm in late December.  This week we trimmed the warm-season ornamental grasses and have now started edging cart paths.  We have close to five miles of cart paths as highlighted below by CourseVision.

Cart Paths

In other news we are saddened to announce the passing last week of agronomy team member Angelo Jones.  Angelo joined our team in the summer of 2017 and switched to part-time status two years later.  As I've always told my team members, there is no such thing as a small or insignificant task and Angleo always performed his tasks with a warm smile.    

Rest In Peace.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG