Drought: by the numbers

3rd hole

2nd hole Mother and babies
The course is starting to show the signs of the weather we have been having. I put together a couple of pictures to illustrate the data. The first shows the last four years of local rain totals from the weather station on the gazebo with a 21 year average. I arrived in the Fall of 1995 and starting tracking with a manual gauge before we purchased the station. The monthly totals are always interesting but do not show the entire picture sometimes so the second sheet is directly from the weather station.

The second graphic shows the daily data. I highlighted with red arrows any rain event over two tenths of an inch. I labeled it .1" but a tenth is a drop in the bucket once you are dry. Since May 13th there have been 5 events. They were fairly well spaced out and each was a life saver when they came. The rule of thumb for irrigation or rainfall for cool season turf is 1-1.5 inches per week. Our rainfall came about every two weeks and none of them were even 1 inch so that spells deficit right there. We make up the difference with irrigation but as the pictures of the course at the beginning of this post show the system does not have perfect coverage. If we use the conservative number of 1" per week and the picture highlights 10 weeks and we have only received 3.6" the deficit is 6.4". Simple math right? Unfortunately grass doesn't do math. Once the ground is extremely dry the water just runs off and does not penetrate. We could get all 6.4" tonight in a Thunderstorm but most of it would run off and flood the low areas. The one thing data and experience has taught me is that the average for the year is pretty consistent, so eventually it will rain again. Meanwhile we just have to enjoy the different colors, textures, bounces and lies this weather pattern has created on the links.

6th hole

Fire in the sky

What are all those brown spots?

Well we finally received some rain. This allows us to drag the washboard out of the roads which is caused by cars traveling too fast when they dry out. Everyone tells me if you go fast you don't feel them as much, but that just makes it worse. If we all drive 15 mph we might never see a washboard and make the speed bumps unnecessary also.

dragging tine harrow on roads

Of course the rain does bring it's challenges. The fungal disease known as dollar spot usually grows out of control after a rain event. It gets it's name from the silver dollar size brown spot it leaves on the turf. 1 or 2 is no big deal but hundreds or thousands and it becomes serious. When active it has a white cottony mycelium seen in the picture below in the rough behind 6 green. We use the Bioject to brew up a naturally occurring soil bacteria and then we spray it on the fairways. This approach has worked since 1998 and allowed us to not use synthetic fungicides on fairways to control this fungus.
active Dollar Spot fungus

viewing platform

water view from platform

real estate pamphlet at platform
Some of you may have noticed the new wooden structure in the woods to the right of 8 approach? It is a viewing platform of the nice water view we have from number 8. One of the few remaining empty lots left in Mink Meadows is on the market and they think this will help sell the lot. Of course if you want water views there is actually a water front lot for sale also. Both pond and Vineyard Sound front to be exact. I will say it is a nice place to live with some amazing sunrises over that pond and sunsets over the sound.
Mirror-Mirror on Mink Meadows pond at sunrise

sunset at beach July 4th      Nature's fireworks

It has been awhile....

When I thought about starting this blog I asked a few people what they thought. I remember one person telling me blogs need to be done often. People come to expect regular updates. OK I can do that. So for about three years I did a weekly post rarely missing a single one. Then I found myself in an episode of Groundhog Day. Literally taking a picture and typing a post only to find out I had already done that years before. I then heard comments such as I love your blog but you need to post more often. I realized that maybe people were not reading this weekly but monthly instead. I was starting to feel guilty that it has been a month since my last post and then someone commented they had just read my last post about the Thumper tree and even though they had played a few times they had not realized it was gone. This post is being written as we get some much needed rain Tuesday morning. The place was starting to look a bit more like The Open instead of the US Open.
some nice sunrises over Mink Meadows pond

reflections  look at the water line on rock. water table has dropped at least 8"

Very links looking

Murph staining decks

2x verticutting of greens

light sand topdressing of greens

repair coupling leaked and wore out pvc pipe. See pits and small hole next to brown ring