This year has been interesting to say the least with the ups and downs that mother nature has brought our way. Last year was a record setting year for wet weather as we received 55 inches of rain which is 15 inches over normal. We are on pace with that right now as we have had 25 inches this year so far. In this post I want to explain how our process works as it pertains to drainage and the golf course and the things we do to keep ours working efficently.
As most of you know our property drains very differently than most golf courses because of our proximity to the lake and how low our property sits. We have 10 electric pumps that are situated throughout the golf course that pump water from the course into the lake. These are all connected to our drainage system which has pipes going through fairways, rough, and even bunkers. Many of these pipes will fill up with water even when we are dry and in a drought because in a lot of the places we have drainage it sits lower than lake level which means ground water will seep into those pipes on a constant basis. When we are wet like we have been for the last 12 months it puts us into another realm where the pumps will run constantly for months on end which they have been for the last few months. When we are at this point we aid the electric pumps with gas pumps in certain areas because they are at capacity and can’t handle the amount of water coming in. Here is a link to an article that was put out last month explaining just how wet and soggy the soils are right now.
The other part of our drainage system that you see us do constantly throughout the year is cleaning out the drainage lines because we have a lot of iron around here and it clogs up the lines so we regularly flush the drains out so we can keep water flow steady. Usually each line on the course needs to be flushed out 3- 4 times per year which is very time consuming but a necessary evil. We are always looking at areas we can improve our drainage to make the course more playable and we have done that each year. Sometimes during conditions like this it may not seem like it but those new additions make a huge difference from a maintenance and playability standpoint.
We battle weather conditions year round its just part of the job but the most important thing is to realize that you have no control over it and keep your head up because getting frustrated doesn’t do any good. At some point this will even out and we will get some consistently dry weather and you will all be able to enjoy the golf course with some firm, fast and dry conditions.
Golf Course Superintendent