A Rainy Day Holds No Secrets

By Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist, Northeast Region
June 11, 2013

(L) “Collar dams” prevent surface water runoff from exiting putting surfaces. Where water collects is often the same areas that routinely experience winterkill injury. (R) Standing water in bunkers confirms that poor drainage is leading to poor playability.

Yet another rainy day in the Northeast; it sure seems like we have had our share of them in the past several weeks. Golf courses are wet. Everything is wet. Sure, we need the water, but enough already. Just when it seems like it may start to dry out, another wave of rain arrives further disrupting maintenance and play. So much for firm and fast. Fortunately, temperatures have been moderate during this stretch of wet weather and the turf has generally remained strong with good rooting and few disease issues. This can all change quickly, however, should this pattern of wet weather extend into the hotter days of summer. 

The heavy rains can help to point out drainage deficiencies and they usually tell a story or explain why playing conditions are the way they are. The pictures illustrate two common maintenance issues that are impacted by poor drainage. The image on the left shows a “collar dam” that is impeding water flow off the putting green surface. The area where the water is collecting was damaged this winter when water collected behind the collar and froze to ice. Standing water and similar winter damage patterns were observed on several other greens that morning and helped to highlight the extent of the surface drainage problems and their impact on winter turf survival.

The image on the right was taken on the same day at another golf facility and illustrates a puddled greenside bunker where there is an obvious drainage problem. Golfers at this facility complain of hard sands and inconsistent playing conditions. The picture is a helpful tool to explain how and why the bunker sands play the way they do. It is one thing to explain the process of fine soil particles such as silt and clay intermixing with the bunker sand, but this explanation is made quite clear with a picture like this that shows a puddle of dirty water. This illustrates the reasoning behind inconsistent playing conditions in bunkers, while also confirming the need for new drainage and sand replacement.    

Never let a good washout go to waste. Use the heavy rain events to chart water flow over the golf course, to identify problem areas, and to use as an illustrative tool to explain the impacts of poor drainage. The sun will come out again at some point but as Dave Oatis, director, Northeast Region, likes to say, “Best keep your powder dry.”

 

Source: Jim Skorulski (jskorulski@usga.org)

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

 

 

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

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
   

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
   

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, www.usopen.com, 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 http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

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 http://www.lexus.com/

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 www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image