Freezing Temperatures Are Not All Bad”

By David A. Oatis, director, Northeast Region
December 13, 2012

The holidays are upon us and the winter solstice is just a week away. The book can just about be closed on another long season. Hopefully your fall projects are nearing completion, because irrigation systems have been blown out and maintenance crews are shrinking. Day length will be at its shortest point of the year in another week, and frost is arriving with ever more regularity. Greens are being closed and many have already been covered. The dreaded “temporaries” have been prepared, and winter golfers already are ready to complain about the unfairness of temporary greens. So what does all this mean?

Freezing temperatures are good. We need deep freezes to kill certain pests and to relieve compaction. I’m sorry for the frost on your windshield and for the temporary greens, but freezing temperatures are good for golf courses in the Northern states. Keeping play off of dormant turf helps eliminate another stress, and may help your turf perform better next year.

With the shortest day of the year comes the knowledge that the sun is at its most southern position when it rises. It also is at its lowest angle. This is extremely valuable information for superintendents trying to evaluate where tree work may be needed. Golfers sometimes scoff at the importance of winter sunlight, but turf that doesn’t receive enough light from October through March usually has more problems. The hardening process is adversely affected and the turf goes into the winter weaker. Turf that goes into the winter with less vigor won’t come out any stronger. In fact, just the opposite occurs. Winter shade translates to more snow and ice accumulations, and worse by far, more freeze thaw cycles which cause crown hydration injury. Let there be no mistake: winter shade and the occurrence of winter damage are closely aligned. So if you want to reduce chances of winter injury and get your weaker turf off to a better start next year, trees may be the answer. Sharpen up the saws and plan tree work accordingly. By the way, a new chain saw makes a wonderful Christmas present!

For superintendents in the northeast, it’s time to catch your breath and to begin recharging worn down batteries. Even the easy years are difficult, and 2012 was not an easy one. It was an extremely long season with lots of extremes, and that translates to physical and mental stress. In a nutshell, we all need a break. So does the turf. 2013 is just around the corner, but we can worry about that after the holidays. Now it’s time to give thanks for blessings received, and to put your feet up for a day or two. We can begin talking about New Year’s resolutions in a couple of weeks, but for now enjoy the holidays, and may next year be the best ever!

Source:  Northeast Region Green Section- Dave Oatis, director doatis@usga.org; Adam Moeller, agronomist amoeller@usga.org Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist jskorulski@usga.org.

 

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