Drought Worsens, Impacts Local Golf Courses
On a nice summer day you’re likely to see Minnesota golf courses packed.
“The course is in very nice shape today,” said John Hulbert, a golfer from Edina. “The greens are very fast.”
A packed course has been the norm this summer at Edinburgh.
“The revenue, rounds, everything’s up. People love the golf course,” said Matt Olsonoski, golf course superintendent at Edinburgh.
Olsonoski is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of Edinburgh’s 170 acres. In his five years as course superintendent, this year’s been especially challenging due to this month’s drought and hotter-than-average temperatures.
Edinburgh has a weather station on site that provides Olsonoski with information on wind, rain, temperature and water loss.
“We use that information to try to figure out how much water we should put back in on a nightly basis,” he said. “This summer, some of the struggles we’ve faced, we haven’t even been able to come close to those numbers.”
The wettest month has been dry and hot
June is typically the wettest month of the year. Instead, it’s been anything but. The course is about four inches below where it would normally be for moisture.
While the weather has brought out large crowds, it’s been less than ideal for keeping the grass looking green.
Instead, the focus has shifted to keeping the course playable.
“We’re focusing on the fine turf,” Olsonoski said. “We focus on everything, greens, tees and fairways. Anything outside of that, we’ve kind of let, I don’t want to say let go, but we’ve reduced our water usage out there.”
Edinburgh’s signature 17th hole is one such example.
“On the fine turf, the greens, the fairways, everything’s holding in pretty good,” Olsonski said. “But as our irrigation kind of fades out on the edges, you can see how dry it really is and how poor some of our coverage is.”
The grass in that area isn’t dead, it’s just dormant.
“As long as no one minds the look, I think it plays fantastic,” he said.
In the middle of a drought, the play of the course seems to be the most important thing to golfers.
“Very impressed with what’s going on here,” said Hulbert, the golfer from Edina.
“You know us players, we like fast greens, and that’s definitely what we’re getting out here today,” said Reese, the golfer from Minneapolis.