Weather is always the hot topic of these blog posts and is the single greatest driver in relation to course conditions. Over the years’ I am sure you have heard many an explanation for course conditions based upon weather, as we have attempted to keep you informed on the state of the golf course. Today’s post will be no different….
The up and down roller coaster that we have been riding for the past 4-6 weeks has left both the turf and myself confused as to what is truly going on in the ground. We have been dry in comparison to neighboring communities, but have also been dealing with extreme weather swings as a result of wind direction. I have lost count of the days now in which the rest of the province is dealing with hot and humid temperatures, while that north wind keeps us right around the 10 degree Celsius mark. With a quick shift in the wind we skyrocket into those extremes, or can plummet just as fast. Confusing to golfers who never know how to dress for their round, but also confusing for the turf which cannot seem to get settled in any way.
A great example of this is shown in the picture above. During the hot, dry and windy spell of last week, the turf was doing all it could to hang on, having not been accustomed to the stress of heat and wind that it was experiencing. In what would be considered a routine practice, the simple act of vehicle traffic proved to be too much for this particular spot and the tires left damage to the frail turf plant. This is just a small example of how these temperature fluctuations can impact turf quality.
Taking this into account on a larger scale, imagine the stress being induced during the act of mowing. At the time of this heat wave we were still attempting to get control of turf that was growing at a very rapid pace – it was spring after all and we all know how fast turf can grow. Cutting more than 1/3 off of a plant is never ideal, let alone doing so in the middle of a heatwave, but this is exactly where we found ourselves last week in trying to stay on top of it. This has left some fairly brown looking turf, or “linksy” as one member put it. Perhaps not what we are all accustomed to, but a result of weather patterns and vital maintenance on our behalf.
The USGA has once again assisted us Superintendents with a nice blog on weather conditions, which can be found here. Note the section discussing coastal golf courses, and the challenges that a cool body of water has on turf conditions....sounds very familiar this season....
Summer weather will arrive eventually and should bring some stability to our turf and its performance. Steady temperatures and a little more moisture will help with consistent playing conditions. Until then, enjoy the challenge of never knowing what you are going to get!
Oh, and make sure you keep that sweater handy…..and the sunscreen......(and maybe the parka today).
Thanks for reading,