Mike Burke on Cherry Hills

September 8, 2014 in Alumni, Articles

The hailstorm that hit Cherry Hills Country Club over Father’s Day weekend was challenging enough. For superintendent Mike Burke, though, it was just the trigger point for an abnormal summer in getting the famed club ready to welcome the FedExCup Playoffs.

Cool and humid conditions have dominated the Denver area since then, including one deluge that helped spawn one of the wettest Julys on record.

“Very, very unlike Colorado,” said Burke, who has overseen Cherry Hills’ turf maintenance since 1998.

“It’s nice being a little cool, but the humidity has thrown us a few curveballs. We’ve had to do some pesticide applications that we normally wouldn’t do, but we had to stay ahead of the game. We’re just not used to humid.”

Before that became a worry, though, Burke’s staff faced a stiff greens restoration following the June 14 hailstorm that hit in the middle of the club’s annual member/guest tournament.

“We had pea-size all the way up to golf-ball sized hail,” Burke said. “We had to shovel off the greens to play the last six holes of the tournament. But the damage was pretty severe on the south side of the course.”

It certainly wasn’t the worst hailstorm to hit Cherry Hills. That came in July 1990, when hailstones left craters up to 4 inches wide and 2 inches deep just six weeks before the U.S. Amateur came to town.

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