Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Dry Ground for Golf!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper! Today is Tuesday, December 14th and we are now just eleven days away from Christmas! And can you believe there are only seventeen more days remaining in 2021? I know, it's crazy! Tonight is the Past President's Dinner at Carolina Golf Club. After a one-year hiatus brought about by the pandemic it will be good to once again gather with fellow senior staff, the Board of Governors, and Past Presidents to discuss our love for the game of golf and Carolina Golf Club. 

Recently I shared something on Twitter that garnered a good deal of support and I wanted to discuss it with you here and provide a little more context.

Last month I posted a few details about a recent trip to Royal Dornoch. One of the gentlemen on the trip was Tom Colombo, the golf course superintendent of Hyannisport Club in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. We were admiring the contours of the green pads, bunkers, and closely mowed surrounds and I commented how Carolina Golf Club possesses similar features but we cannot replicate the links playing conditions until the Bermudagrass goes dormant.

Despite the ability of Bermudagrass to tolerate close mowing, its growth habits (lush and grainy) during warm, humid summers make for a sticky surface that can baffle golfers attempting to play the ball along the ground. But when dormant, and dry, those shots are made less difficult and a wider array of options are now at your disposal.

But the key word in that last sentence is DRY! For the past three years Carolina Golf Club has been subjected to above average rainfall of nearly epic proportions. In 2018 it rained 58.60 inches. In 2019 it rained 57.20 inches. And last year (2020) it rained 59.71 inches!

So far in 2021 it has only rained a total of 39.02 inches! More importantly the rainfall received since the beginning of September has only totaled 6.59 inches as of today. We have always said the best time to play golf at Carolina Golf Club is fall, and this year we have been treated to a dry autumn for the first time since 2017!

NC Drought Index

As you may imagine, if we haven't received much rain then we must be entering into a drought. Above is the latest update on the growing conditions across North Carolina. You can see Mecklenburg County has entered into the Severe category. But the 0.95 inch of rain that has fallen on Carolina Golf Club this month all came after this map's valid data was recorded. Although I don't expect a lessening of our category, just know things are not as dire as they may appear.

The current La Nina is providing us once again with some unseasonably warm conditions as record highs may be reached by the end of this week! Below is the 10-Day Outlook from our friend at WCNC, Brad Panovich.

Don't be surprised if we receive more rain when the cold air arrives this weekend. It is hard to go from record high temperatures to drop-offs of twenty degrees or more without triggering showers and storms. Regardless, the dry conditions we have experienced the past few months have brought about some of the best playing conditions this time of year in quite some time, so please, get out and enjoy them! 

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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