A little something from our Superintendent, Ahren Wonderlich.
Here we are in mid-November and we’re talking about this is the best the golf course has played all year. But why is that? Many factors are contributing to this but the main one is Mother Nature. We had a very wet year other than a dry stretch in June. Now we’re in late fall and the rain has shut off. This equates to firm and fast.
Turfgrass requires water for survival. We all know this. But demands for water differ throughout the season. In golf course maintenance we often talk about ET rates or Evapotranspiration. ET is the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth’s land and ocean surface to the atmosphere. Or in other words…..how much water are we losing each day. A few basic factors that contribute to ET are humidity, temperature, wind and day length or sun angle. Our ET rates are typically the highest in the summer months which requires us to irrigate more frequently which in turn leads to a softer playing surface. We try to walk the fine line of too much or too little water when it comes to irrigating. We don’t want it too wet but we also don’t want it to burn up. I prefer the drier side but it doesn’t always happen that way. I will also add this little tidbit….the drought of 2012 was one of my favorite growing years. It was a lot of work keeping grass alive but our humidity was low based on no rainfall and the golf course played firm and fast all year. This summer not so much. Too much rain which led to high humidity and disgusting dew points. The golf course played soft and turfgrass disease pressure was very high.
Let’s fast forward to now. Why is it so good? As I write this our rainfall totals have decreased significantly over the last 6 weeks compared to earlier in the year. Also, we are in the time of year where those ET rates are at their lowest. The demand for water is significantly lower with shorter days and the air is dry. It feels like a desert climate right now. We still need to water but not much. A little bit of irrigation goes a long way right now. This allows for a much firmer faster playing surface. Right now is about as good as it gets. I’m a big fan. So get out and enjoy it. It looks like this weather pattern will continue for a while.