Rain's a pain for Sunny King Classic planners
by Al Muskewitz
amuskewitz@annistonstar.com
Jul 09, 2013 | 2929 views |  0 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The fairway on hole 5 at Cider Ridge is flooded by recent heavy rains. Crews are working water away in time for the weekend's Sunny King Classic. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
The fairway on hole 5 at Cider Ridge is flooded by recent heavy rains. Crews are working water away in time for the weekend's Sunny King Classic. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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Last year around this time Sunny King Classic golf course operators were looking to the sky and dabbing their brows, wondering when the heat would break and the rain would fall.

Now, on the eve of the 35th classic, they have the opposite problem.

There’s just too much water.

Superintendents at the three courses in this year’s rotation – Anniston Country Club, Cider Ridge Golf Club and Silver Lakes – all have been facing the challenge of bringing their facilities back from more than 5 inches of weekend rain.

They’re hopeful of having their courses in playing shape for the 204 two-man teams that will converge on their facilities this weekend, but right now it’s a fight against nature.

“It has thrown a huge wrench in our plans,” Cider Ridge superintendent Chad Robinson said. “We weren’t able to mow greens very much this weekend so we’re playing catch up on that and we’re really just trying to pump out and dry the front side.

“Honestly, if the tournament was today, you couldn’t play the front nine, but if we can have today, tomorrow and Thursday to dry this place down and clean it up, we wouldn’t have any issue. If we don’t get any more rain the rest of the week, the golf course will be in great shape.”

Robinson said his course has taken 6.5 inches of rain since July 3, a deluge that has made the waterfall on No. 12 look like a mini-Niagara, but left portions of holes 4 and 5 underwater. The forecast calls for diminishing chances of rain throughout the weekend.

The tournament traditionally is played on the weekend following the Fourth of July, but officials move it back a week when the date falls later in the week.

It proved to be a fortuitous decision. With all the rain that fell over the weekend “it would have been hard to play last week,” tournament chairman Jimmy Flowers said.

It has been a wet year. Silver Lakes superintendent Robert Edmondson said his course took 5 inches of rain over the weekend, boosting its yearly total to 45.83 inches – a half-inch more than it received in all of 2012.

And the course’s Champion Bermuda greens are starting to feel the effects. To fight back a disease developing on the greens, officials are verti-cutting more and using more sand than usual.

“The weather has been bad on these type greens,” Edmondson said. “If we had bent grass I wouldn’t be too stressed about it, but this has been horrible on Bermuda.

“We’re finding ourselves doing more to the greens this week and having to hustle. We’re having to go to the bullpen a lot this weekend.”

Both superintendents hope they won’t have to restrict players to the cart paths during the weekend. Sunny King Classic officials were discussing options Tuesday morning.

“We’re going to continue to monitor it,” Flowers said.

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.
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