Predicting the Weather

During my 15 years of being a superintendent the only thing I was absolutely certain of is that Mother Nature is in charge and she will do whatever she wants to. Try as we all may to be prepared for whatever she throws at us, ultimately we are forced to simply adapt our operations to the conditions she creates. But that certainly doesn't mean we sit back and take the daring "wait and see" approach for planning how you manage your courses.

Most superintendents have some type of weather monitoring system in their maintenance facility to help provide some "reliable" information. Obviously, in the short-term, the information is much more reliable than trying to get some insight on what's going to happen months away, like Spring or Summer. Ironically, that information would be way more valuable.

Spring time is particularly challenging. If Mother Nature stays the course as she has the past few years by delivering warmer than usual weather in Spring, it'll definitely cause a massive time crunch in order to get everything accomplished in time. Not to mention the constant knocking on your door from the Golf Pro, GM and every golfer asking when the course can be opened. And that doesn't even cover the agronomic challenges of getting your pre-emergent application ordered and put down in time. Taking product deliveries early has never been more attractive.

If you Google what the weather predictions are for the Summer of 2017, you'll see temperature speculations that ranges from significantly above normal to slightly above normal. What you won't see is anyone saying it's going to be lower than normal. Of course, you can argue on what's "normal" anymore. But the bottom line seems to be that temperatures will be hot across the geographic board.

The topic of how to handle summer stress was, once again, very prominent at this year's Golf Industry Show. Multiple seminars and classes addressed a variety of tricks and tips that have proven successful for superintendents, mostly learned during the past few years of being under fire from Mother Nature.

The underlying theme was that most of them were doing everything possible before the summer stress occurs. This included the use of biostimulants to help kick in the plant's natural defenses, as well as implementing increased cultural practices (even if it meant slightly imposing on the golfers).

In the end, Mother Nature is still in charge. She always will be. But it the true professional turf manager that can rely on their experience and education to persevere through these tough times. At least until we discover a better way to predict the weather.


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