What a year...what an autumn

Unfortunately for the out of golf season and our winter sports at Phoenix, this autumn has been as wet as I’ve known it since 2001 and in fact the yearly rainfall data for 2019 looks like a record breaker (see graphs below). We’ve had 399mm since September and 959.9mm all year, well away from 2018s 615.8mm all year. Last Wednesday into Thursday we recorded 105mm in one hit flooding the golf course, the whole complex and most of Rotherham/Sheffield for that matter. Ok Im hitting you with bad news and one I know you don’t want to hear, but this may strike you has hard to believe but I don’t want to hear it either. In my first year leading this team and wanting to take this complex and golf course to the next level, this has certainly been a set back. We had plans for the winter which are now looking very unlikely to happen unless a miracle happens.

The long term forecast for the uk is for a hard winter and a beast from the east, again!!. If this happens it may be a good thing as long as we miss the 2 foot of snow. A hard frost will enable us to get a digger out on the course and complete some projects like the 14th tee. Without this forecast becoming a reality I’m not sure if we can get round the course to complete such works and at the minute we can’t drive machinery on to even cut, collect leaves or do much out there. We are walking round carrying hand blowers, switches and brushes to help keep the greens as disease free as Mother Nature will let us, but we can’t drive the sprayer round many times to apply fungicides or feeds to do the correct best management practice of chemical, cultural and biological methods.

The good news comes now and it may not be a lot but it offers a glimmer of hope. The forecast is another barrage of rain this week (thought you said good news mark!), but after this the forecast in the long term does look drier for a little longer than we’ve seen in recent weeks and months. The course is no longer completely under water and a lot of standing water has subsided. Now it’s time for the natural drainage of the land which although is typically slow being on clay, it can surprise you if a strong breeze picks up and no more rain comes with it. All our drainage systems are at full capacity exiting water from the course it’s just a waiting game.

I’m sure we are on the same page when I say we don’t want to ruin the course and make it look like a rugby pitch or risk your safety by opening too hastily. The course really is unsafe and unplayable at the minute but I ensure you as soon as it’s fit for play we will open as much of the course as possible. This is an autumn the likes we have not seen for nearly 20 years and one every club in the area has to take on the chin, but I can promise you we will come out the other side with a better golf course than if we make a mess by being hasty or applying pressure to the committee or ground staff to open too soon.

I’m sorry it’s not a totally positive blog post Mother Nature is certainly in a mood. I hope you see the positives, hang in there things can only improve weather wise.


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