Many clubs throughout the Northwest region are open for business in the winter months. While the golfers might be ready to brave less than ideal conditions, the turfgrass on the course may still be waiting for temperatures to warm up enough to begin growth. It is important to remember that grass that is still in a dormant condition does not have the ability to withstand or recover from wear and tear. Since concentrated golf cart traffic is a major source of such damage, the more carts can be restricted to the paths, the better condition your turf is likely to be in the spring. At the very least, make every effort to disperse cart traffic over as wide an area as possible and give strong consideration to keeping the carts on the paths on holes that have a history of showing excessive wear injury. Additional traffic management techniques include using hole and tee marker locations that might be less than ideal but again, spread traffic out over a larger area. Note that this is especially important on golf courses that receive little or no precipitation during the winter since turf in dry soils is more easily injured by traffic.
While it is always good to see golfers show back up to the course, just remember that while they may be ready to play the turfgrass might not be ready to grow. Just like people sharing the same house, it is important that the early risers consider those that are still sleeping.
Please contact either Larry Gilhuly director, or Derf Soller agronomist, with questions about early spring golf course preparations in the Northwest or to schedule a Turf Advisory Service (TAS) visit in 2013. For TAS information, visit Turf Advisory Service Information or contact Ms. Wendy Schwertfeger at (208)732-0280.