Friday, January 14, 2022

Winter Storm Watch!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper! Today is Friday, January 14th and our area is currently under a Winter Storm Watch for later this weekend! Now, it's important to understand that Watch means the ingredients for a winter storm are there. Once those ingredients come together to form the storm the Watch will be upgraded to a Warning.

Currently the timing of this storm has it arriving in the Charlotte Metro area sometime late tomorrow, and possibly not until after midnight Sunday morning. As typical, the big question facing everyone is who gets snow versus who gets freezing precipitation. And, it is important to remember sleet is one form of freezing precipitation that does not accumulate on trees and power lines but makes roadways treacherous. Freezing rain is another form of freezing precipitation that not only makes roadways treacherous, but also accumulates on trees and powerlines causing other issues to be dealt with.

The two charts above depict the snow/sleet potential and the ice potential for the region courtesy of our friend Brad Panovich of WCNC. It is important to bear in mind these charts are as of 11:00 pm LAST NIGHT and are subject to change as the storm approaches, so please be weather aware!

Being a golf course superintendent I am used to dealing with Mother Nature. After all, She is constantly in control and we adjust daily to the weather conditions. Our approach to this storm is no different from past winter weather events or even tropical storms and hurricanes. We will heed the notifications seriously and prepare for the absolute worst, and hope for the best. Truthfully, that is all any of us can do.

Today we are making a plant protectant application to the putting surfaces to help protect them from any weather related fungal maladies. We will also make a few pre-treatment applications to walkways and driveways around the clubhouse tomorrow before heading home to wait and see what the storm brings. When conditions are safe for travel we will assess the golf course and develop a plan. The agronomy team is prepared and we will do whatever is necessary based on the outcome of the storm.

I was looking back through photos on my phone to see when was the last time we last had significant snow cover on the golf course. Believe it or not, it was four years ago on January 18th when the course looked this tranquil.

I also discovered photos from January 2017, January 2016, and February 2015 so looks like after a four-year run of winter weather we've had a four-year reprieve. So, fill up your vehicle today or tomorrow and gather supplies. Pray the power stays on as it is a good weekend for sports viewing (PGA Tour, NFL Playoffs, College Basketball, etc.). 

And if reading is your thing I stumbled across this blog post yesterday that identifies U.K. golf courses ripe for renovations/restorations. It contains lots of links to other articles and opinions so it might be something to browse if golf course architecture is your thing and you find yourself with extra free time. Stay warm and stay safe!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG