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Still Wet in the West

Torrey Pines North Course #6 Putting Green (AP Photo/Chris Park)

As posted last week, California got some substantial rain and wind with southern California getting 3 to 5 inches of rain, while norcal got about 3 to 6. For us in the West, that's a lot considering our multi-year drought.

Cool season Pythium popped up in the diagnostic lab as well as rapid blight from socal and Las Vegas, which was a little surprising considering that the rain should have leached some of the sodium out of greens last week. Not surprisingly - pink snow mold was reported in both southern and northern California.

With cool temps in the 50s and 60s and scattered rain expected, we can expect more pink snow mold through out the week.

Although most California superintendents are certainly not facing the winterkill issues that our northern neighbors in Oregon and Washington are facing, annual bluegrass greens in the colder parts of the state can look pretty crappy under these cold weather conditions. Jim Alwine (Stockton Golf and Country Club) has a nice example of this on his blog post here:

Like Jim says, annual bluegrass can look tired and clorotic under these cold weather conditions and just refuse to grow, especially under low fertility conditions.

Trials and Tribulations (but no Tiger) at Torrey Pines
With all of that gorgeous kikuyugrass, sweet Poa greens, and a killer Rueben sandwich at the Grill & Bar, Torrey Pines Golf Course is one of my favorite places in California.

Last week's storms wreaked havoc on the course prior to this week's Farmer's Open (ex-Buick Open). With 4+ inches of rain over 5 days and 20 to 40 mph winds on Wednesday, Director of Golf, Jon Maddern and course superintendents Wayne Carpenter and Candice Combs were faced with some substantial storm damage with just a few days to get the course ready for the tournament.

According to North Course Superintendent Wayne Carpenter:
We lost roughly 20 trees on the North and the South in this last storm. The soaking rains from this storm and the previous storm combined with the high wind spikes pushed over the surface rooted trees. Most of our trees have rooted on the surface for the water and because the hard sand stone keeps the roots on the surface. Almost all the trees were euc's [eucalyptus]. We only lost a couple of pines of various types. The difficulty in the clean up was all the branches, twigs, and leaves that were down everywhere. That was the tedious hand work. We couldn't do anything but put blowers out to help make piles, rake and pick up everything. The trees were a lot of work for the crew, but at least they were in one place. We could clean it up and move on. The hardest job was pumping out bunkers and restoring the faces with sand. The South lost all the sand in every face on their bunkers. The North had wash outs, but not on the scale of the Souths. I'm sure Candice can better attest to the amount of time and labor this job took on her side, but this took a huge expenditure of our crews resources. We had a number of GREAT volunteers that helped with this task and I would not have finished the North without their help. Our crews have completely worn themselves out getting this place back into shape.
About 40 volunteers, including 15 staff and superintendents from golf nearby courses in the San Diego area, pitched in to help clean up the storm damage. You gotta love that collegiality and camaraderie that's present in this industry and amongst superintendents and their crews. I wonder if the public realizes how much work goes on behind the scenes to get courses ready for the big day, especially when Mother Nature deals you a bum hand.

As you can see from ESPN's coverage of the tournament today, all of that effort from Candice, Wayne and Jon, their crews and volunteers has made for some pretty sweet results:

Let's hope that the rain stays away for the rest of the week so the crew at Torrey can get some well deserved rest!

By the way, Mr. Daly, it looks like you got some gray snow mold in your pants. We got some stuff that can fix that...I'm just sayin'

(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Thanks to Matt Marsh (Valencia Country Club) and friends for gettin' that idea in my head.

Signing Off From the Right Coast Until Next Week....

One response to “Still Wet in the West”

John Kaminski said...

Frank, nice post. Just an FYI...I forwarded your post to John Daly on Twitter in case he wanted to take you up on your offer to help.

I will let you know if he replies!

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