Winter - A Holiday For Greens?

By Bud White, director, Mid-Continent Region
January 13, 2011

The lower area of the Mid-Continent Region is in the coldest part of winter, and we are experiencing temperatures that call for attention.  Superintendents must make sure that their bermudagrass greens are well hydrated during freeze/thaw cycles, especially under windy conditions that can quickly lead to desiccation.  This is true for all dormant bermudagrass areas on the golf course – especially tees and mounds. 

As a rule of thumb, most superintendents cover their greens when temperatures are going to be about 28°F or lower overnight, especially if it is windy or if the following day and night are colder-than-normal.  If the following day is going to be warm, say, above 50°, many superintendents do not even cover the greens at 28-29° or above.

With bentgrass greens, playing on frosted, frozen, or partially-thawed greens is the biggest dilemma, and often the most heated argument!  Golfers understand frost delays, but many believe that playing on frozen greens does no damage.  To a large extent, this is simply not true unless the frost line is three to four inches deep and play is extremely light. 

Greens thawed in the upper ¼” to ½” are subject to the greatest degree of damage because, under traffic, the roots are sheared off at the frost line.  Partially-thawed conditions usually occur when the weather is nice, and winter golfers are less tolerant of restrictions.

Golfers, be assured that winter damage can occur on greens, and you must adhere to the advice of the golf course superintendent on these decisions for both the short- and long-term health of the greens. 

USGA Turf Advisory Service (TAS) invoices will be mailed out early February.  Paying by May 15th provides a substantial TAS discounts.  The early payment fee remains the same for 2011 as in 2009 and 2010.

  • Half-day fee -- $2400 with a discount of $600 if paid by May 15 ($1800)
  • Full-day fee -- $3200 with a discount of $600 if paid by May 15 ($2600)


I suggest that you pay prior to May 15th to receive the $600 discount.  (If you receive your visit prior to May 15th, payment must be made within 30 days of the visit invoice to receive the discounted rate.)  Download an application at: 2011 TAS Application 

If you would like more information about a Turf Advisory Service visit, contact either Mid-Continent regional office at:  Bud White, (972) 662-1138 or ( and Ty McClellan, or (630) 340-5853.  We look forward to being of service to you and your golf course.


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