A Real Winter With Freezes And Everything

By Bud White, director, Mid-Continent Region
January 6, 2014

Frozen soils and persisting frost follow shade patterns. Golf shops need to be aware that turf damage can occur in shaded sites, especially greens, when play is allowed on semi-dormant turf during winter.

We have experienced a significant number of hard freezes already, and it’s only early January. The fluctuating temperatures can be very detrimental to turf health due to freezes and/or playing activity. For example, on Jan. 4 in Dallas, Tex., the high was 70°F, but on the morning of Jan. 6 the temperatures dropped to 15°F with winds gusting to 40 mph. This is not only hard on semi-dormant turf but, just as importantly, creates great potential for wind desiccation

With even the southern areas of the region already experiencing temperatures in December in the teens and below, it has prompted a few golf facilities to ask about covering their ultradwarf bermudagrass greens. Leaving greens uncovered is gambling with winter damage at these temperatures. If lows are in the mid- to upper-20s now, covers are needed unless the days before and after are quite warm.

Wind desiccation is the other primary concern with winter winds, especially on mounded areas. If areas experience localized dry spots in summer, they are likely to experience desiccation come winter. Be sure to monitor soil moisture continually to ensure the turf can hydrate itself and help fend off desiccation injury.

With the significant temperature fluctuations experienced, golfers still expect to play on warm days beginning first thing in the morning. A word of caution to golf shops: Greens can be frozen from frigid night temperatures and damage can occur from foot traffic the following morning even when warm temperatures are expected that day. Sometimes it may be a shady green or two that remains frozen whereas others are in full sun, thawed and fine for play. Perhaps it is only shaded greens that need to be closed to play. Areas which remain shaded until around noon can hold frost in the soil throughout the day and traffic can be extremely damaging to the turf. This seems reason enough to fix tree problems around greens, unless it is simply impractical to do so, and winter is a great time to perform tree work. All told, make sure your important playing areas are protected during our colder winter experienced this year.

If you would like more information about a Course Consultation Service visit and how we can help your facility with drought, water quality or other management issues, please contact me, Bud White, at (972) 899-2462 or (budwhite@usga.org). Early payment (before May 15) can save you $500. For more information on the USGA’s Course Consultation Service and to download an application for a visit, please click here. I look forward to being of service to you and your golf facility.            

Source: Bud White (budwhite@usga.org)

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service  

Contact the Green Section Staff  

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

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 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 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 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