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

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