Around this time of year, well this weekend actually we often get the “Augusta Syndrome”.
That is to say a golfer will watch The Masters on the telly and then turn up at his or her local golf course and bemoan the state of the course vs. what he / she has seen on television. Now quite apart from the fact that Augusta is closed typically from the end of May to the beginning of October every year and has a maintenance budget that would dwarf any of the golf courses we have here in the U.K and Ireland (and I mean dwarf), has anyone ever stopped to look at their weather vs. ours in a ‘typical spring’ ?
So I did some digging and found a weather station located 3 miles from The Augusta National Golf Course and decided to do a Spring 2016 comparison.
This is not a reflection on Augusta as a venue, it’s simply an exercise to compare Augusta with a golf course in the U.K and Ireland in the spring and see how realistic that comparison is.
So using 6°C base for my degree day formula, I compared Augusta to two locations, Oxfordshire and Dublin using temperature data from Spring 2016 till the end of march. The results are shown in the cumulative GDD graph below ;
What we can see is for both venues, Augusta piles on 600GDD by the end of March, whereas both The Oxfordshire and Dublin locations (and most others as referenced in this week’s blog) get to a GDD total of 70.
So we have roughly 8.5 times more potential for the grass plant to grow at Augusta between January and March than we do in the U.K and Ireland. To put it in perspective, Augusta hit 70GDD on the 29th of January, whereas we hit this total at the end of March, so they’re two months ahead of us growth-wise.
All this neglects to mention the use of fans, under soil heating and lights on shaded greens 🙂
Maximum and Minimum Air Temperature Comparison
If we look at the temperature profile we can see why Augusta produces better growing conditions from a grass plant’s perspective….
So we can see they have much higher day temperatures and their last frost in 2016 was on the 11th February, ours was on the 31st March and of course we’ll have some more to come yet before April 2016 is out.
Rainfall and Dry Days Comparison
Lastly there’s rainfall and whilst they have rain there, they also have drying days because of the higher temperatures, so I’ve finished with a comparison on this front.
So the next time some smart Alec tries to do a comparison, why not present them with some facts in a constructive and polite manner 🙂
You can download a pdf of all of this data here
Have a nice weekend…