06 MAR 2020
As temperatures rise, snow begins to melt and the birds start to sing, it feels like winter is almost over and the course is that much closer to opening, but Spring does not officially start until March 19th. We have had quite a few questions lately about how this weather is affecting the course and our grasses. First, it is great to have some early warm temperatures but a 20-degree swap from Friday the 6th to Monday the 9th is a bit too much of a wakeup call for our greens.
We have to realize that we are sure to receive some more winter weather before the end of March. When our grasses wake up too early and are hit with this weather, things can always go backwards. Our bentgrasses are in a state of dormancy right now and coming out of that makes them more fragile to ice, heavy snow and cold dry winds. Ground frost, as little as three to four inches, has yet to melt and we are not attempting to check soil temperature so soon. Before we open, we always want to see soil temperatures above 12° Celsius as that is going to officially wake up our plants and encourage growth.
Overall, our courses have wintered exceptionally well. We have zero snow mould damage, very little wind desiccation, minimal rodent damage, no noticeable ice kill to any greens and our verti drain holes have filled in nicely. To date, we are setting up with some exceptional conditions for opening.
Golf Course Superintendent