CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — “I’m fed up with summer.”
So says Mike Hatch, the owner and general manager of Birkdale Golf Club and Brandermill Country Club, relaying what seems to be the consensus among his fellow local golf course operators in recent weeks.
This week’s 90-degrees-plus temperatures and ample humidity continued to give Hatch and his peers extra reason to sweat in what has been an endless summer for an industry that lives and dies with the weather.
Not only did the extended steamy blanket that hovered over Richmond for much of the last two months make it tough to convince golfers to come out play a round under the sun, it also put the grounds of many local golf courses at risk, particularly for damage to their greens.
The heat, humidity and few, but fast moving summer rain storms have forced more than a handful of area courses to take measures both drastic and creative over the last several weeks to prevent damage on greens that are still healthy and to minimize it on those that have been hard hit.
Their tactics have included minimizing foot traffic by limiting play, shutting down individual holes and in some cases shutting entire courses down for days at a time to give the turf a breather.
“It’s just one of those summers that you have to try to get through,” said Jimmy Gable, superintendent at Jefferson Lakeside Country Club, near the botanical gardens in Henrico County.