By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Lots of rain, way too much rain, who could plan for that much rain? The deluges that fell on the US Open course at Merion last week were more than anyone could have counted on and no matter how well graded or managed your yard or golf course may be, that much moisture in so short a time can create puddles and mud.

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So, how do you handle mucky paths that thousands of people have to walk across after it’s rained more in a week than it usually does in a month? Interestingly enough, out at Merion, the answer was as traditional and tried and true as the venerable golf course itself – straw. LOTS of straw.

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The day after downpours drenched the practice rounds, crews spread bales of straw across the muddy patches, which reduced splattering, increased traction to make the paths safer and easier to navigate, and helped absorb water so things dried up faster.

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And, in the end, straw is easy to rake up – or you can just leave it in place to compost into the soil, naturally.