Friday, January 28, 2011

And the winter rolls on........

Here are a couple of interesting weather stats for the first 28 days of 2011, here in the Hamlet of Camlachie....

  • We have had 16 days requiring snow removal either from fresh snow, or high winds and our famous drifts!
  • We have applied salt on 9 days in addition to the snowfall
  • We had a temperature high of 11 degrees C, and a low of near -25 degrees C
  • At the start of the month, there wasn't an ounce of snow on the golf course.  To look out across the course now, you wouldn't have the faintest idea that there is a golf course there at all!
Suffice to say, its been a busy month, with no end in sight.  Our weather forecasters are calling for an additional 20 cm over the next few days, which may pose the problem of where to put it all!

On another side note, we all know the many challenges such as excess heat and drought that we faced during the 2010 growing season.  A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the London Free Press cementing the fact that 2010 was the warmest year on record.  You can find the article here:
 http://www.lfpress.com/news/canada/2011/01/11/16846421.html

Now, I am always a little hesitant when I read an article that makes such a vague, and at the same time a bold statement such as this.  We Canadians seem to be fascinated by weather, and even talking about weather, and we seemingly always come back to judging the weather by what "the norm" is.  Have you ever thought about that?  What exactly is "the norm?"  Have you ever seen a normal year?  One where there are no temperature fluctuations, or perhaps where we receive an inch of precipitation every week during the growing season; only at night, and followed by perfect sunny skies? I had never really put that into perspective until two weeks ago while at the Ontario Golf Course Management Conference in Windsor.

While in Windsor, I had the opportunity to listen to a former professor of mine at the University of Guelph, Dr. Eric Lyons, speak about a variety of topics.  The opening of his presentation started with a quick talk about weather, and thus, this is where he had us thinking about weather "norms".  As a Golf Course Superintendent, I am dealt with the task of not just dealing with a normal day or a normal weather pattern, but how to respond to the wrath and fury that Mother Nature can bring, all the while keeping playing conditions relatively constant.  Now that in itself is a can of worms! 

Have you ever played Sawmill a day or two after a big rain event?  There will surely be signs around the property that we did indeed receive a lot of moisture, but let me ask you this; what did you think of green speeds?  How about the receptiveness of the greens?  How about the tees?  Without going into too many details (there will be plenty of time for that!), I can tell you our data shows that greens speeds stay relatively the same, (or normal if you may!)  So how do we do that?  Surely we can't keep our green speeds up, even if the weather prevented us from mowing that day.....or can we? 

I guess we'll have to talk some more about this on another day......

Jamie

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