Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
This time of year most people are starting to get a little antsy being cooped up all winter. We start to see days that show comfortable outdoor temperatures so we get out and stretch our legs and go play a few holes. What we need to remember is that from January 1st to approximately mid-March, the greens on the golf course are closed with the exception of the putting green. There are a number of reasons to do this, the most important one is ball marks. Ball marks in the summer do take a long time to heal, and when the winter is here they do not heal at all. Each mark is an opening in the green like a wound on your body. If the wound does not heal it becomes infected, in this case annual bluegrass has a chance to invade the green. We work tirelessly to keep annual bluegrass out of our pure bentgrass greens. The photo attached is a dormant green with close to 1000 unhealed or not repaired ball marks during the winter. Did you know? The average number of ball marks made on greens per round is 8 per golfer. Assuming only 130 rounds are played each day on your course, your greens receive 1,040 impressions daily. 31,000 per month or more that 374,000 per year! Amazing!!
Another important reason to stay off the greens is when we experience the freeze/thaw cycles during the winter. When the grounds start to thaw out it becomes very wet while the surface below is still frozen. This creates a high water table essentially walking on water, and when pressure is exerted can actually cut off the roots, the other half of the root structure is still in-cased in the frozen soil below. Building roots is the most important part of maintaining a green, for without roots the plant can die. By keeping to these strategies we prepare the greens for a healthy successful year.
And lastly, you may be wondering why we are cart path only during most of the winter. As I have stated before the grass is not growing. During the growing season the grass is taking up water and dries out the surface. During the winter this does not happen. So, we have wet conditions on a daily basis. If we allow carts out when the conditions are saturated a few things can happen.First, we increase the compaction on the golf course, and wet conditions equal surfaces to easily get “squished”. Second, cart damage can open up wounds in the turf and because we are not growing create entry points that would allow unwanted grasses to grow, such as annual bluegrass. The picture to the right is an example of what carts can do in the winter. Please abide by the rules for the day and the winter, by doing this you are contributing to a great season of golf. You will also notice, we have started a twitter account shown to the right, and will be used for real time updates as needed.