Water, Water Everywhere

Water, Water Everywhere…..
By: Patrick S. Knelly
GCS Sugarloaf Golf Club

Well, it’s been raining. Not like the Spring showers that bring May flowers kind of rain either! More like the widespread destruction, ruin your month, rivers in the fairways, Noah and his animals kind of rain. I won’t bore you with the numbers, but since the first week of August, we are obliterating record precipitation ammounts daily, and sadly it does not appear to be over. So, other than watching it rain, what does the Green Dept. at Sugarloaf Golf Club actually do during this insane stretch of weather? If you are curious, read on.
Clean-up, clean-up and clean-up some more. That is easily our most monumental task, and we are getting really good at it lately. Every time we have flash flooding, we encounter piles of debris washed in from the roads, streams and woods. Our fist priority is to make the course as playable as possible, and as quickly as possible so most of this work is done by hand. We hand rake fairways, rough and hand blow greens and tees. As soon as the course is firm enough for power equipment, we bring out the big guns and start on the left over out of play debris. It’s a brutal job, done once in awhile, I can assure you it’s even less fun when you have to do it all and then start over the next day.
Getting the water off of our property is also of paramount importance. We prep the course before every predicted storm by clearing drains, unclogging pipes and opening the pond overflows. Without fail, during every storm some “stuff” happens and we experience some additional clogging so out we go for a swim. Often in running water up to my waste, but it needs to be done, running water over the turf is bad so we work hard to make sure all drainage chanels are open and working properly.
Other routine maintenace tasks become much less routine too. Cart control and cart damage repairs become a huge job. Mowing can be nearly impossible during these conditions, so when it does dry out we find ourselves well behind schedule and scrambling to keep up. Soil washouts need to be repaired, and there are hundreds of areas that have seen damage from running and standing water. Damage assesment can be a monumental task as well, I’ve done numerous damage checks over the last month and I can say I have not enjoyed what I’ve found most of the time.
Even with all of this work to accomplish, we are occasionally forced to the Maintenance Facility by heavy downpours. Once there, we try to dry out, clean up and start in on other productive jobs. We wash and wax equipment, clean our work areas and preform routine service on the equipment that may be a little over due. We recently re-organized our storage area to expedite our morning routine. We also do some fabrication. This week we built a neat carrier for our fertilizer spreaders so we don’t have to break our backs’ lifting them into a high utility vehicle bed. It will be a huge time saver, so it’s time well spent! These days also make a great opprotunity to catch up on the long over due planning and record keeping requirements of the job. All in all, we stay very productive and are always working towards better turf conditions despite the endless rain.