Hot And Humid In Colorado

By Derf Soller, agronomist, Northwest Region
August 24, 2011

Repair of damaged turf areas includes solid tine aeration, broadcast and slit overseeding and then frequent irrigation syringing to establish the new turf seedlings.  Keeping golf carts out of these areas is a must! 

While not something we typically find in the Rocky Mountain Region, hot and humid conditions have prevailed this summer, particularly in the Denver Front Range area.  Record-setting rains almost reached annual average totals for a two-week period in early July.  These were followed by rapidly rising temperatures.  The combination of these events produced very high physiologically stress to turfgrass plants not normally seen.    

Within many communities, golf courses play an important role in storm water management.  The downside to this is that the golf courses are recipients of large amounts of water during extremely high rain events.  Courses that served as recipients of surrounding water were especially subject to damage.  With the sheer volume of water received in a short amount of time, it took longer than normal for the waters to recede.  Many golf courses were almost in a flood-like state for some days, and extended rain, followed closely by high heat and intense sun, caused rapid onset of turf loss on many golf courses.  This was especially apparent in lower areas that held water.

Some damage can be attributed to disease in the flood plain areas, but the most damage was the result of extreme physiological stress.  Super-saturated soils failed to allow the turfgrass plants to breath or transpire under high temperatures for long periods of time.  Evidence of wet wilt and sun scald also was reported by a number of superintendents.  

Repair programs have been underway at many courses during our recent Turf Advisory Service visits.  Golfers will need to appreciate the hard work invested by the maintenance staffs, and do their best to help facilitate a rapid recovery.  Damaged areas have received slit seeding, solid-tine aeration, broadcast spreading of additional seed, light fertilizer applications, and now we’re waiting for seed germination.  Golfers can be helpful by keeping carts out of recently seeded areas, and also for understanding that fairways need to be syringed during the day. 

With luck, cooler temperatures will take the pressure off young seedlings as they emerge.  Adequate time should still be available this fall to achieve good recovery.  Light and frequent spoon feeding, similar to what many superintendents apply on putting surfaces, will help increase density in these areas throughout the fall. 

Now is the time for superintendents to plan fall cultural activities.  As was stated during a visit just last week by a superintendent in the Denver area --- “there are just 34 more days until aeration.”  This is not something golfers want to hear, but it is something that many superintendents can’t wait to accomplish this fall, given the high heat, humidity and temperatures of this summer.

The Green Section is available for Turf Advisory Service visits throughout the fall.  Please feel free to contact Larry Gilhuly (, Derf Soller ( or Wendy Schwertfeger ( for information or to schedule on a visit yet this fall or next season.


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,, 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

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

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

AmEx image