Don’t Over React – Time To Consider All Options

By Keith Happ, director, North-Central Region
February 19, 2014

There is a lot of winter weather still to come, so removing snow cover now may not be wise. On the other hand, if significant thawing is likely to occur, consider creating channels for surface water to drain from putting greens to reduce the potential for crown hydration damage once freezing temperatures return.

Calls have been coming in from every portion of the region expressing concerns about the possibility of winter injury. Fortunately, consistent snow cover insulates turf and buffers the damaging effects of rapid drops in temperature. In fact, temperature sensors positioned in the soil of greens have demonstrated this effect. While air temperatures have been in single digits or even below zero, soil temperatures at two- and five-inch depths are 20 degrees warmer. Research has demonstrated that Poa annua can tolerate temperatures to -6°F while bentgrass can tolerate lows down to -30°F.

There have also been questions about snow removal from greens. We still have significant winter weather ahead and late winter freeze and thaw cycles can wreak havoc with turf. The cold tolerance of Poa annua can be reduced by five to 10 degrees if turf is exposed to temperatures of 40°F or more for more than eight hours. A thaw followed by a sudden freeze is a recipe for crown hydration damage.

We cannot be absolutely sure how the turf will tolerate the weather we have experienced this winter. Time will tell. It is difficult to not react and do something when there is concern about how the grass is surviving cold, snow and ice. Most golf facilities have prepared very well to protect against the potential for disease as well as insulate for cold with topdressing or geotextile covers. Greens were topdressed (using black sand and/or regular topdressing) and these programs can have positive long-term agronomic effects. Diluting thatch is never a bad decision. In the short term, don’t inflict any additional stress by reacting too soon to the situation.

Source: Keith Happ khapp@usga.org  

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff  

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