Despite the sunny start to the weekend, the recent influx of thunderstorms in the Northeast region will impact golfing plans for Father's Day.
Becoming an official federal holiday in 1972, Father's Day is now celebrated nationwide, and in the golfing world, it is considered one of the best golfing weekends of the year.
However, in the last few days, the Northeast has been hammered by severe thunderstorms, resulting in heavy downpours and damaging winds that downed trees and caused power outages. Additionally, major airports including Dulles, JFK and Philadelphia experienced hundreds of flight delays and cancellations. Even the U.S. Open was delayed as blinding downpours and severe thunderstorms swept across Pennsylvania on Thursday morning.
Typically, in collaboration with the U.S. Open weekend, golf courses across the U.S. see a significant increase in business on this holiday as Director of Golf for Baltimore County Golf, Joe Rahnis tells AccuWeather.com.
"Father's Day is one of the biggest weekends of the year. It's typically a good weekend for us with about a 12 percent increase in rounds and dollars compared to other weekends in June," said Rahnis.
According to AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist, Dave Dombek, "A lot of places have had more than 4 inches of rain already this month. On average, some of those places see 3.50-4.50 inches of rain a month, so they have already doubled their normal rainfall."
This image is from the High Plains Regional Climate Center powered by the Accredited Climate Information System. It shows the amount of precipitation from May 15 through June 15, 2013.
Heavy rain can affect multiple areas of the golf course as well as golf play.
"Rain can affect the bunkers by washing them out," said Rahnis. Other problems include drainage, which restricts the golf carts to staying solely on the paved pathways opposed to driving onto the greens. This typically reduces the number of rounds played.
Ricky Coleman, director of golf instruction at the Golf Club of New Seabury, agrees that the rain has indeed affected the courses.
"Water has been an issue," stated Coleman. Some of the Cape's ocean courses have been closed this week due to the immense amount of rain that has fallen. The sheer amount of heavy rain can make the golf courses soft and the greens difficult to putt on.
Farther south, at the home of the 113th U.S. Open, Merion Golf Club has been a bit luckier.
"We have made out quite well, the course will handle the moisture and will be back to normal conditions by midday on Friday," said Matt Shaffer, director of golf course operations. "We will probably have 26,000 to 27,000 people on the ground plus our volunteers this weekend."
With hundreds to thousands of people expected to take to the green this weekend, avid golfers are smiling about the drier and sunnier start to the weekend. Thunderstorms will make their return once again Sunday in portions of the Northeast. The best time to golf on Father's Day will be in the morning to midday hours.
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