Conferences and “March Natural” Color

By Derf Soller, agronomist, Northwest Region
April 3, 2013

The Club at Rolling Hills in Golden Colorado, like all courses in the region, are still showing their “March Natural” color. Superintendents and golfers are anxious for the return of warmer soil temperatures and spring rains to add some color to their courses.

The Northwest region had two USGA regional spring conferences recently; one in Golden, Colorado and the other in Seattle, Washington. The Colorado conference was put on in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendents Association, (RMGCSA) and the second was held in conjunction with the Golf Alliance of Washington. Both had great turnouts to hear USGA and industry professionals deliver presentations.

The mountain region is starting to come out of our deep freeze and soil temperatures are starting to warm up. This is bringing out golfers for the first few swings of the year. They will see, as one superintendent in Colorado told me recently, perfect “March Natural”, as far as color of the course. Grass is just starting to grow throughout the region, and slightly brown, dormant turf is greeting golfers on most courses. Fortunately, it won’t be long until the grass turns green and starts to grow, which will be quickly followed by mowers out in full force.

It has been a dry spring and water restrictions are already being discussed in areas of Colorado and Utah for the upcoming season. Superintendents have been watering with water trucks and sprayers since most have not yet turned on their irrigation systems. Water restrictions will affect not just golf facilities, but also parks and homeowners as well. This is beginning to sound like a broken record out here in the west, but snowpack and water reserves are again at below normal levels heading into the summer.

Hopefully, we will get some spring moisture in our area to go with the warming soil temperatures. This will surely help the turfgrass as areas courses transition from the “March Natural” look to the green and growing grass of spring.

Source: Derf Soller (

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