To say that this Spring has been wet would be an understatement. According to the University of Waterloo weather station blog (Click here to view blog), the all time record for rainfall in April and May combined is 286mm back in 1916. Our weather station here at Westmount recorded a staggering 293mm for those two months. To put this in perspective, consider the following:
- An acre foot of water is equal to 325,851 gallons of water. This is a known quantity used in agriculture.
- 293mm of rainfall over our 165 acres of property means that almost 200 million litres of water fell on our property in April and May.
- Our pump station has the capacity to pump 1400 gallons/minute when we irrigate. To put the equivalent amount of water on through irrigation, we would have had to pump 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 26 days straight.
Just like dry years expose any weaknesses in our irrigation system, a wet year will expose weaknesses in our drainage system. First let me say that the capital money spent on drainage in 2011 and 2012 was money very well spent. Without all of those improvements we would have had a lot more problems than we did. Carts would have been cancelled many more times than they were, and we wouldn't have been able to mow certain areas for long periods of time.
However, as we learned this year, there are still improvements that could be made to our drainage. Most notable is the area near the irrigation reservoir on the right side of #5. This area has been wet in prior springs but never this wet. Our plan is to install a sump pump and pump the water to the drainage ditch behind the fairway bunker on #5. You may have noticed the sump pump between 5 and 13 failed and was not operating for a few days. Water quickly pooled there and it was a lesson in how much that pump actually helps keep everything dry down on 5 and 13. The addition of another one near the reservoir will help even more.
Other areas needing additional drainage include:
- The Practice Facility which is already on the long range plan (currently slated for 2021),
- The left side of #6 all the way across the approach to the irrigation reservoir.
- The left side of #8 in the rough short of the fairway. This needs to be pumped to a catch basin halfway up #8.
- The left side of #12, left of the cart path. Again a sump pump is likely the answer.
- The left side of #15 about 180 yards from the green. A deep cut needs made through a hill in the fairway to get it to gravity drain to a catch basin in the fairway.
These areas will be added to our Long Range Plan and addressed as time and budget allow. I know that drainage is not the most exciting thing to talk about (or spend money on), but it's essential for growing healthy turf and having happy golfers. Let's hope for some dry, sunny weather going forward!