At Royal Cinque Ports we are very lucky to own our own weather station. Weather data changes dramatically from the club to the other side of Bettshanger Park for example so it is very important that we keep our own records. Earlier this year we had so much rain that there was no grass visible on the 9th fairway yet the 1st green was bone dry! The cloud has to split somewhere I guess!
Below is a picture of our weather station which is situated as close to the Maintenance Facility as possible yet far enough away from buildings or trees in order to gather accurate and unaffected information.
This is a ‘Davis’ weather station and it collates rainfall, windspeed, wind speed and direction and ET. All of the information is gathered on the Course Managers computer and is visible also on the wall.
Weather watching is one of the most important daily tasks a Course Manager has to undertake as it determines what jobs are done that day, week or the weeks ahead. This could be planning fertiliser applications, spraying windows or irrigation applications.
The data is also fantastic for explaining why course conditions may not be quite up to scratch due to unforeseen or unfavourable weather. The last few months RCP has had constant rainfall compared to previous years. Below is a graph with data taken from our own weather station and shows the difference between this year and 2017 which was more of a ‘normal’ year. We can easily see that the blue lines are not only more frequent and constant but the peaks are extremely high.
The graph below shows the monthly comparisons, It is worth nothing that this data was put together half way through the month of November (15th) so there is a good chance the grey bar could pass the orange bar of 2018.
Although we are lucky enough to enjoy a sandy golf course which allows water to drain freely and gives us 12 months golf, the clubhouse side of the road sees soil texture change through sandy loams to heavy soils and clay. The putting green and short game area have struggled to cope with the incredible amounts of rain recently and although there is water coming out of drains we have installed, these areas take time to get back to field capacity. More drainage work shall commence this week on the short game area and the team will continue to try and keep these areas as dry and playable as possible, battling a higher than usual water table.
The 16th hole is exceptional so far this year after the drainage pumps were replaced with more efficient models, usually the lower half would be flooded, just now it is as dry as the rest of the fairways and long may it continue. Any drainage water from the 1st, 18th, range and 16th is recycled and piped in to the reservoir to be used again for irrigation water.
Please be understanding golf buggies and trolleys when it is wet, there will be buggy bans when the soils reach saturation point. The greenstaff believe that golfers should play golf at every opportunity so it is never nice having to ban a means of transport for those who rely however the course must be protected during these times, especially after the time and money invested in making beautiful walkways.