Of course I jinxed us after discussing the weather last month – a dry, cold April was causing us large delays in growth which, judging by the growth on the trees and shrubs, most estimate to be roughly a month behind our normal point in the spring. Since then, we have been stung by the wettest May on record with 118mm of rain falling across the month, almost 5 inches.
Consequently, it did not take long for surfaces to wet and stay wet as the rain continued. We have managed to continue mowing through the period although, for the sake of the course over the last week, we held off on all cutting in the wettest areas, including fairways, semi-rough and mown rough particularly in the valley. As I write this we are almost back on top of this mowing, here on the last Friday on May.
Sticking with the weather theme, a short thunderstorm bought our first lightning strike on the course for a few years. The large oak next to the third tee was struck by lightning during play at about 2pm on 19th May and it has caused extensive damage to the tree. We will be monitoring the tree over the coming months and possibly years to ascertain its health and long term damage but fingers are crossed that it survives and continues to be an integral landscape feature of our golf course. During that storm there was also a ground strike reported to Roger. Frightening circumstances and a sure-fire reminder of the importance of leaving the course for safety when there is thunder and lightning in the vicinity of the course. Please follow the advice of our golf team when they request that you leave the course.
We are seeing some growth across the course finally; swards are filling in and the turf is becoming denser. Over the next four weeks, I expect that we will have a significant surge in growth as nature usually likes to play catch-up. We will be mowing as often as we can to stay on top of this growth and we will be using growth regulators to reduce the clippings and further thicken the growth on fairways, semi-rough and tees but there will still be areas where clippings and grass growth are thick. You have been warned.
Finally, as we approach the end of June there will come a point when we can reinstate the traditional flag and cup setup on the greens which I am sure everyone is very excited about but most importantly, there will be a day soon when we can set rakes back into bunkers. I for one, am very keen to see this day arrive. One note regarding our members’ rakes; they work best when you push them across your footprints.
Enjoy your golf and stay attentive to your pitch marks and repair habits.
Yours in sport.