It's easy to be optimistic about the drought with an inch of rain in the books and two more days of rain to come, but for the last few weeks I have been spouting off that a lot of good can come from this drought.
Do you remember when the U.S. Open was held at Pebble Beach in 2010 and then USGA president Mr. Jim Hyler said, "We need brown to be the new green"? I don't recall the particulars at that time, but I do recall that the message and subsequent conditioning being discussed as a failure amongst the TV audience and Superintendent's alike. With hourly coverage tracking the drought in California, we as Superintendents, and stewards of the environment, have a golden (maybe slightly brown) opportunity to really sell that message again.
Most of us are going to be asked to cut and all we are going to be left to sell to our memberships and patrons is playability. We are not going to look pretty at times, but the opportunity for 250+ yard tee shots are still there and even enhanced along with greens that roll above 10ft on the stimpmeter. Not a bad thing if you ask me. And what is best of all, at least regionally, is that people understand the need to cut right now.
From the Superintendent side of things, we could see a change in how we water for decades to come. Every time I'm with Superintendents, water comes up in the discussion at one point or another. We are all asking how we are going to change and what products and practices we are doing that are helping. From the money side of the industry, I'd bet the marketeers and researchers are working harder than before to come up with the million dollar idea that will help us through.
Am I being overly optimistic? Probably, but we may as well tackle it head on, learn something from it and become even better stewards of the environment because unless we have a record rainfall, the drought is here to stay.