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How Wet Was Your Golf Course This Winter

By: | Fri 15 Mar 2024

It's been a thoroughly disheartening winter for golfers - and even more so for the courses that we play on. Heavy rain, flooded fairways and closures have been commonplace across the UK for months, meaning that attaining your golfing fix has been harder to come by than usual.

We can all recall the succession of named storms that we witnessed throughout autumn and the early weeks of winter, but the reality is that the challenging weather began even before that.

Just How Wet Has It Been?

Records have shown that it was the wettest July-December for the UK since the statistics started being kept in 1890. The Guardian recently noted that in the 12 months to January this year, just four of England's hydrological areas (which covers regions located around rivers, lakes and other water sources) had normal rainfall levels. 47 of these areas were tracked as having notably high levels and a staggering 76 were rated as exceptionally high.

One Lincolnshire-based arable farmer told the paper: "We have had the wettest October, November and December since we started keeping records 27 years ago."

We have recently addressed the difficulties facing golf courses and the unenviable task that has been presented to greenkeepers, but the wider numbers are truly startling when you see just how widespread these conditions have been.

The Met Office has reported that the south of England has just seen its wettest February since records began in 1836. While other parts of southern England experienced well over twice the average rainfall for that month.

Expanding beyond last month to cover the season as a whole, 445.8mm of rainfall has fallen in the UK, 29% more than the long-term average, which makes it the eighth wettest winter on record for the entire country, with the most affected regions being central and eastern England and Scotland.

You only have to see the following two charts to realise just how consistent the deluges have been over an extended period.

How Wet Was Your Golf Course This Winter?

How Wet Has Your Golf Course Been

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

You've seen the stats and looked at the numbers, but what has the personal impact been on your golf this winter? Golfshake Ambassador Mel Davies is based at Churchill & Blakedown Golf Club in the Midlands, and he has commented on what he has noticed during recent months.

"I am very lucky that my home course is sand-based, so drains very well, enabling me to play more than most, but even saying that there have been more cases this year of temporary greens than in the previous six years combined, which shows how much rain we've had this winter.

"I haven't practiced as much as normal but again that's to be expected as the weather isn't very conducive to standing outside practicing..."

Fellow Golfshake Ambassador Matt Holbrook shared his experiences: "This winter hasn't been the best on the golf course. The weather hasn't been the best and lots of course closures have meant less time on the course - that said, there have been some lovely days out and some decent golf thrown in. 

"I have taken a second membership this year for a local links course to try and get as much golf in as possible, but even that has struggled with the record rainfall, in particular throughout February."

Rain has persisted in many areas into March, but with the imminent arrival of spring, we're optimistic that things will improve in time for the new season. We're all due a spell of good weather - and golfers will appreciate it more than most, but there may already be some early signs of positivity. 

Matt added: "But as I type this, the sun is shining, I have already been out and played this morning in a T-shirt and the course is drying out nicely and showing some real good signs of recovery, long may that continue!"

We like the sound of that!

Related Content

How Heavy Rain Has Impacted Golf Courses This Winter

Why Have Golf Courses Been Closing More This Winter

How to Protect Your Golf Course This Winter

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