Egypt Valley in Ada has some dry patches but is in excellent condition despite the heat.
A golfer prepares to swing at Egypt Valley on Friday morning.
ADA, Mich. (WZZM) -- As West Michigan temperatures continue to climb over the 90 degree mark with no rain, you might think maintaining healthy golf courses becomes more challenging for course managers -- but you would only be half right.
Egypt Valley course manager Jeff Holmes says he must monitor the grounds closely, but even in harsh weather a healthy golf course is a science.
"We check the weather every morning when we come in," says Holmes, who says his workday begins at 5:00 a.m. "Our team of managers who work together in our department, when we get to work we turn on different devices, some sites we go to on the computer, we also have the local stations that we watch and listen to. We always say we have to be proactive not reactive. Once we're reactive we're in trouble. Probably seven to ten days out is where we're always looking."
Holmes says there's much more to good golf course maintenance than letting the sprinklers run. In the current conditions, it's critical to know how much water is too much water.
"It's hot out and sticky and people think, 'Oh man you run a lot of water.' And it's like, no we're not even running it. They think I'm pulling their leg sometimes when I tell them. For example, last night we didn't even run the irrigation."
Holmes says that contrary to what some may think, a healthy golf course this time of year can include some some dry patches.
"A little bit of brown is just fine. It's the same on your home lawn. It doesn't have to be lush, lush green. It's healthier when you have a little bit of drought condition. I'm not saying burn it out. But if you're walking on your lawn and your shoes are wet, you're overwatering."
The reason is that even with the high temperatures, the air has enough moisture in it to cause problems for wet ground.
"When it's humid and you've been overwatering, then it just sits there and ferments," says Holmes. "You just can't get rid of the moisture. You'd swear it's getting wetter."
Holmes says the healthiest courses of all are those on which a player rarely notices the grounds crew.
"We try to pretty much be invisible and not be out there when you come out for the golf experience. You want to be able to play and not run into a lot of maintenance equipment or people out running water or whatever it might be.