If you haven't already heard, the golf course is closed all day today (Thursday October 20th) to all play. The rain fell all night adding over an inch and a half to an already saturated golf course. All turf staff were sent home before first light this morning. This is only the second time in my career I can remember making the decision first thing in the morning, to closing a golf club completely for the entire day. The first time we had received a light snow fall over night and the wind blew this snow into small snow drifts in many locations. Member's most certainly could have teed off and walked through or around the drifts had I let them. But power carts would not have been able to drive through the drifts and in many cases you could not find a way around them. So why didn't I let golfers walk? Simply the safety concern. I knew they would walk through some if not many of the drifts, with no way of knowing what footing they might have. They could easily sip and fall. Or if walking across even a minor slope there was the potential to slide down and tear a muscle or ligament, or an even more serious injury. They would also have no way of knowing if the ground below where they were stepping was level. And had we needed to remove an injured member, getting them off the course would have been a big challenge.
Today we do have a bit of a safety issue here at Whitevale, but the bigger reason to close the golf course to all play is to protect the course itself, from the damage it would receive. Even walking on the saturated ground causes more compaction issues than driving a cart because of the psi exerted under your feet. When any type of traffic is placed on wet soil, it actually causes damage to the soil structure. Specifically, it causes the air pores in the soil to be squeezed out, packing the soil closer together.
In order to maintain a healthly stand of turf we need air pours in the soil, its one of the many reasons we must aerify. The weather report for the rest of the day is for continued showers. If that is the case we won't get any firming up of the soil. A decision on when golfers are allowed to resume playing will be made tomorrow morning at the earliest. And if you are hoping to golf tomorrow, and take a cart, I have to tell you it doesn't look good for carts going out tomorrow! Sorry, but it is protecting the investment and our members, and that is always priority 1!