Thunderstorms Likely, Chance of Rain 50%!

By Todd Lowe, USGA Senior Agronomist, Florida Region
June 29, 2011

A record-setting rainfall deficit over the past several months has caused severe drought stress problems at many courses in Florida, but now that it has finally started to rain, resumption of cultural management programs is a key component in the recovery process.

Most meteorologists report rainfall as if it is an inconvenience to the public, but it is like music to the ears of Florida golf course superintendents.  Maintenance staffs often hover around televisions or computer screens in the mornings, praying that the projected path of rainfall will move toward their area.  Most of Florida has been in a severe drought over the past several months, but summer rains have finally begun and have been a Godsend for golf courses.

The recent rains have brought life to ailing turfgrass and a resumption of turf growth.  While most of South Florida will remain under irrigation restrictions for some time, the thunderstorms are transforming the environment as they unload needed water onto parched grounds.  Golf courses that have been brown from lack of water are now turning a healthy green hue throughout the region.

Summer rains in Florida are generally predictable in that, once they begin, you can count on a certain amount most afternoons.  These rains are often scattered and isolated, so that some areas receive more rain than others.  Many golf course superintendents feel as if there is a rainproof dome over their particular course, as adjacent golf courses on either side are wet while theirs remains dry.  But, wait another week, as fortunes often flip flop and the course that was dry this week can receive abundant rainfall next week.

Summertime cultivation practices (verticutting, core aeration, scalping) of tees, fairways and roughs have been postponed with the prolonged drought conditions.  These aggressive practices open up the turf canopy and soil, encouraging water loss and increased drought stress.  Many golf courses will now be busy catching up on agronomic programs to reduce thatch and maintain good golf course playability.  Core aeration is particularly important when rains resume for improving percolation and reducing runoff.

The aquifer in South Florida is still low, and Phase-1 irrigation restrictions will remain until water levels rise.  With luck, the recent rains will continue to fall through the summer and fill up the depleted aquifer so that a lack of water does not continue to be an obstacle to maintaining appropriate turf health and playing conditions.

Source:  Todd Lowe, or 941-828-2625 

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image