Winter Is Welcome

By Keith Happ, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
January 4, 2013

Good planning helps ensure successful improvement projects. Despite 10 inches of snow Stan Heidinger and his crew are installing much needed drainage in the ninth fairway at Edgewood Country Club in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

Superintendents welcome the cold weather as long as it does not stay too long!  

The New Year arrived in seasonal fashion. Most of the Mid-Atlantic Region is now in the full grip of winter with low temperatures in the single digits in some areas north of the Mason/Dixon line. Experiencing some freeze and thaw cycles is not a bad thing. 

Conversations with superintendents verified that work is being done to improve the courses in spite of the cold weather. For example, drainage projects are being conducted despite eight  to ten inches of snow cover. At Edgewood Country Club in Pittsburgh, sod was removed and laid on plastic before the ground froze in areas where drain lines were to be installed. Once the ground froze, a snow blower was used to remove the snow. Next, plywood boards were positioned so that soil removed by the trencher could be loaded to a hauler and removed from the site. The frozen ground made the soil easier to handle and also made it easier to back fill the trench with gravel.

Frozen ground also allows superintendents to move forward with tree management programs. Dead trees can be dropped with less fear of damaging the turf. The frozen ground allows lift trucks or other large equipment to be used on the course without damaging important to play areas. Although it may be a winter wonderland, much can be accomplished to get ready for the season ahead! 

While the warm winter and very early spring of 2011/2012 provided opportunity for golf courses to generate much needed revenue, many projects did not get completed for fear of heavy equipment damaging grass. The frozen and snow covered ground may not be conducive to golf, but it provides opportunities to complete needed projects around the golf course.

It is not too early to plan to attend one of our Regional Conferences this winter. The first is March 5 at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia The second will be at Woodholme CC in Baltimore, Maryland on March 12. We make every effort to control costs by partnering with allied associations. The modest fee to attend provides a continental breakfast, a great slate of speakers covering topics for all and concludes with lunch. Mark your calendars to join us; it is a great way to kick off the season!

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team. If you have a question give us a call or send an email. You can reach Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org) at 610-558-9066 or Keith Happ at (khapp@usga.org) at 412-341-5922

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