What Do You Do During The Winter Anyway?

By Darin S. Bevard, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
January 11, 2011

Obviously, this is a rhetorical question for golf course superintendents.  However, golfers are often unaware of winter work.  Although there are few agronomic issues to discuss in the Mid-Atlantic Region with recent weather patterns, the golf course maintenance staff still has a lot of important work to do.  With freezing temperatures and, in many cases, snow cover, golfers tend to stay away from the golf course and believe that the maintenance operation is dormant.  These same golfers may ask, “What can possibly be going on at the maintenance facility when there is no grass to mow or bunkers to rake?”  The answer is -- plenty.

Outdoor projects, such as tree pruning and removal, drainage, etc. are obvious when spring arrives.  However, some of the inside projects often go unnoticed.  Those brand-new ball washers and benches that you see in April?  They were sanded and painted over the winter for that like-new appearance.  The same is often true of tee markers, hole liners and other on-course items.  Often, these items are not replaced; they are simply refurbished to look like new.  Equipment overhauls and heavy maintenance are also a major part of the winter season.  When it does snow, the parking lots and sidewalks don’t plow themselves.  While all may seem quiet around the golf course, rest assured that your maintenance staff has plenty to do in preparing for the upcoming season during the Mid-Atlantic winter.

The other important activity of the winter season is continuing education.  Different conferences are available to provide information on new products and updates on older ones.  USGA agronomists, academia, company representatives and fellow superintendents are just some of the presenters who offer information that may be incorporated into the programs at your golf course.  It is important that decision-makers at all facilities provide the resources so that your maintenance staff can attend these meetings and access the educational opportunities.  It is money well spent, and your golf course will be better for it.

The Mid-Atlantic Green Section region will offer two Green Section regional meetings this winter.  The first is on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.  The second meeting is Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 at Woodholme Country Club just outside of Baltimore, Maryland.  These meetings focus on a variety of topics that will benefit superintendents, general managers, golf professionals and golf course officials.  Programs and registration instructions are complete and will be sent-out soon.  MARK YOUR CALENDAR - we hope to see you there.

Finally, invoices for the 2011 Turf Advisory Service will be sent in the near future.  The cost for a prepaid half day visit REMAINS $1,800.00 if payment is received prior to May 15th, 2011.  A prepaid full day visit REMAINS $2,600.00 if payment is received prior to May 15th, 2011.  This represents a $600.00 early payment discount.  The regular fee for a half- and full-day visit is $2,400.00 and $3,200.00 respectively.  Sign up and take advantage of the early payment discount.

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team.  If you have a question or concern, give us a call or send an e-mail.  Stan Zontek (szontek@usga.org) and Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org) at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ (khapp@usga.org) at 412/ 341-5922.


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