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Beating the heat: Wisconsin golf courses battling drought

How they keep the green as green as possible
Posted at 11:32 AM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 21:11:07-04

DE PERE, Wis. (NBC 26) — As golf courses in Northeast Wisconsin battle the heat, groundskeepers are struggling to keep the grass looking green.

"About the last three years, we couldn't keep up mowing because it was growing so much and we were getting a lot of rain," Charlie Demske, superintendent of Hilly Haven Golf Course said. "This year is a different story."

Hilly Haven general manager Kristen Stelzer says that their staff has been watering the greens on a nightly basis this summer, but Demske is thankful for the evening storms that have occasionally crawled through the area.

"When it comes at night, that's a beautiful thing for a golf course because we don't have to worry about golfers not being able to come out and enjoy the golf course," Demske said.

Demske said that he prioritizes watering the tee boxes, fairways and greens, but they're watering in June at the pace they usually do in August.

"We've been watering every single day for about two weeks," Demske said. "We also had to bump those schedules up a little bit because of the drought, so we were able to keep everything looking healthy throughout this time."

On top of this, the greens are mowed at least twice a week to keep up with the growth that comes from regular watering. Then add Demske's goal to converse resources, and it's a very tasking science to maintain.

"We try to be as sustainable as possible," Demske said. "That way we're not wasting any kind of resources and keeping things healthy. When grass is growing well, it's a very good absorber of carbon dioxide and it creates a lot of oxygen."

While the heat might force an extra trip to the beverage cart, it can benefit your golf game.

"You know the roughs, yeah they've dried up a little more, but there's just more roll," Demske said. "So you get an extra 15 or 20 yards on your drive compared to what you would normally."