June 3, 2013

Cold And Wet

The month of May wrapped up a few days ago, meaning the meteorological "spring" of March, April and May has finally come to an end.  No big surprise, but it was very cold and wet.

May this year brought us a total of 5.18" of rain, almost double the average amount of moisture we should receive.  All told, the spring months turned out to be the 4th coldest and 3rd snowiest spring on record in Grand Forks.  March was 10 degrees colder than average, April 11 degrees colder than average, and May only 1 degree colder, so at least it turned out close to normal, but the heavy rain and the persistent cloud cover for the last 2 weeks of the month hurt quite a bit.

Amazingly, it is almost a distant memory now, but for 2 out of the 3 months of spring this year we were totally covered in snow.  Although we are now into the beginning of June, the course has only been snow free for about 35 days, and as of only about 20 days ago I was still pulling chunks of ice out of the irrigation valve boxes!

May also brought a really strange weather event in temperature extremes.  Our warmest day of the month was on the 13th when the temperature skyrocketed to 90 degrees.  Only 36 hours before that, on the morning of the 12th, we had a chilly morning at 24 degrees.  That was a dramatic one day turnaround!

The really unfortunate part of all this, is that the cold, damp, cloudy weather is really hurting the turf in its recovery from the longest winter Grand Forks has ever seen.  Not only did winter last forever and cause a lot of turf injury, but now spring hasn't really brought us much help either in the form of warm temps and sunshine.

That, and it seems like for the last 3 weeks all we have been doing is pumping water.  With the ground as saturated as it is, every little rainfall event puddles up in the bunkers and in the flat areas of the course, mostly on holes 6 and 11.  All told, in the last 3 weeks we have spent about 60 man hours running pumps and squeegees trying to get excess water off the course.  That has really cut into some of the other projects on the course that we could have been working on.

Squeegeeing out the last drops of a big puddle by 11 tee.  Our nearest
basin to pump into is on the other side of 6 fairway, requiring about
200' of hose.

This is why we have been putting drainage in the renovated bunkers
this year.  This bunker right of 2 green has been a pond the entire spring,
making it nearly impossible to get into and finish it.
And of course, as I take a look at the forecast for the rest of the week, looks like more heavy rain for the next 2 days and a balmy daytime high of 58 tomorrow.  Another cold, wet, cloudy day....  Summer can start at anytime now!

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