Clear forecasts lead to full tee sheets, so managers are happy to cope with the challenges caused by extended drought.
Chicago-area golf courses have been taking extra steps to keep their facilities playable during that region’s extended drought, reports The Chicago Tribune. Golf professionals and superintendents surveyed for the Tribune’s report said the prolonged dry spell has put business on the upswing, making it important to find ways to keep courses playable to meet the added demand.
“From the golfer’s perspective, drought is great for us because when there’s no rain in the forecast, they start making plans to golf,” said Preston Irwin, Director of Golf at the Schaumburg (Ill.) Golf Club. “But when they see rain, it’s hard to fill the tee sheet.”
Many courses are making up for the lack of rain with extra sprinkling at night and by hand-watering strategic areas during the day, the Tribune reported. Some, like Bolingbrook (Ill.) Golf Club (“The Talk of the Town,” C&RB, Sept. 2007), are pumping thousands of gallons more than usual onto the fairways each day—which the course has the luxury to do because it uses reclaimed water from the village’s water treatment plant, which provides an ample supply, Head Golf Professional Eric Aldrich told the Tribune.
Advance planning to cope with the drought has proven to be key for Billy Casper Golf (BCG), which manages the Chicago Park District courses, the Tribune reported.
“We carefully monitor and properly use water in the spring and fall, and it gives us a healthier turf plant that’s able to withstand the heat stress that’s put on it now,” said Bryan Stromme, BCG’s Regional Director of Agronomy.
At Palatine Hills (Ill.) Golf Course, which has battled flooding issues over the years, Course Superintendent Brad Helms said the drought is easier to deal with. “I will take it dry every time, because I can put the water on as needed and I can control it,” Helms said.
While the ground might be firmer than usual, some say that isn’t necessarily bad news for golfers.
“The ball is traveling a little farther on tee shots, and the rough is not as rough,” said Kevin Carlson, Grounds Manager for the Naperville (Ill.) Park District’s two courses. “They can hit the ball and spray it a little more outside the fairway, and they won’t find themselves in a difficult lie because the grass is thinner than it normally is.”
The drought didn’t keep Fred Eberley of Deer Grove, Ill. from playing a round Thursday morning at the Bolingbrook Golf Club.
“If they have beer it’s fine,” Eberley joked to the Tribune’s reporter. “They don’t even have to have water.”