Mid-Season Blemishes

By Todd Lowe, senior agronomist, Florida Region
February 20, 2013

Thin turf conditions are common on high-use tees during the peak golfing season.

In Florida, the peak winter golf season reaches its climax at this time of year and many facilities are producing a record number of rounds. Increased play combined with lower temperatures are taking their toll on golf course conditions, and the recent cold snap will further slow the recovery of traffic wear patterns.

Putting Greens: Ball marks are prevalent this time of year, as the turf grows slowly. It is each golfer’s responsibility to repair ball marks, and a properly fixed ball mark may only take a few days to recover whereas an unrepaired ball mark that is scalped by mowers may be a noticeable blemish that lasts for several weeks.

Tees: Turf thinning is a particularly important issue on teeing grounds come February. Especially problematic are high-use tees and par 3s where iron shots (and divots) are taken. Oftentimes, only the middle section of tees becomes thin as golfers tend to acclimate toward the center of the tee markers. On wider tees, it may be necessary to narrow the distance between tee marker placements and relocate them closer to teeing ground edges. Doing so will encourage complete usage of the entire teeing area. There must be adequate time between tee stall rotations for complete recovery, and teeing grounds may simply be too small for the amount of play received during the peak season (see article Tailor Made for more information on tee size requirements). 

Fairways and Roughs: Tight fairway lies are common at this time of year and it is not caused by lower mowing heights. In fact, fairways are generally only mowed once or twice each week, mostly to remove divots. Semi-dormant conditions along with 200+ daily rounds cause the turf to become matted down. Fairway spray programs (see Liquid “Overseed”) are helpful, as they not only improve turf color but also encourage growth and overall quality. 

Cart traffic and cold weather are also problematic on golf course roughs this time of year. Turf discoloration and tufted playing conditions are common on golf course roughs in Florida during the winter months, especially in high-traffic areas. While the goal is to produce a dense and uniform turf canopy, inconsistent turf growth rates and traffic make it an impossible task at times. 

In the big picture, increased wear and tear is a good sign of the viability of the game of golf, but it is important for golfers to understand what can be expected at this time of year and ways they can help minimize turf stress. 

Source:  Todd Lowe, tlowe@usga.org or 941-828-2625 

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image