Over the last couple weeks the Stillmeadow Turf and Maintenance team has been making a big push to accomplish a few different drainage projects around the course. These areas have been difficult as natural springs have been discovered. We may find that additional drainage needs to be installed in these areas to get the most ideal results. However, we should see an immediate improvement and in every area a new plan of action has been implemented that has never been tried before. #13 "Natural Spring"
As we are thrust into cooler playing conditions I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for another job well done this season in respect to divot repair, ballmark repair and reducing traffic through proper course navigation. I know that we are not perfect in all these areas; however, I have seen drastic improvement! I would also like to take a little time to explain our winter play expectations and educate on why we have these same expectations. Our course care duties as members and as the maintenance staff don't take a break just because it is cold. Bunker maintenance Bunkers will rarely be maintained throughout the winter by the maintenance team. Rakes will soon be removed for winter service. We would encourage you to lift, clean and place in the rough no closer to the pin.
Course supplies removed Moving forward you may notice that all benches, ball washers, new flags and sticks and tee markers have been removed from the course. This is for winter service and protection. When selecting a teeing area we would ask that you attempt to find clean areas to tee from throughout the winter. We should attempt to spread out this traffic as much as possible.
Frozen Turf Please be as gentle on frozen turf as possible! As you will have explained to you in an upcoming article, play on frozen turf can be very detrimental.
Frost Lets use a common sense approach. Whenever there is a frost the maintenance team or the Pro-Shop will make the call. Please don't arrive two hours early on frost delays. Trust me, we want to get you out there as soon as possible. Often we probably push the starting time up more than we should.
When to play and not play this winter? The following is an article from the USGA explaining why golf traffic on turf during winter conditions can be detrimental. Please read the section of the article provided, or at least the highlighted sections. This should help with a more scientific explanation of why winter play must be closely monitored by the superintendent and the turf staff. Please allow us to make the decisions on when golfing is acceptable during winter weather. This is in the best interest of the conditions of our club.
Thanks, Klint Ladd Golf Course Superintendent
Playing Par with Jack Frost
By Charles B. White Director, Southeastern Region, USGA Green Section Reprinted from the USGA Green Section Record 1984 Sept/Oct Vol 22(5): 8 As winter begins, the golfer lays aside his clubs for a time and settles down to watch football. But, loving the game, our minds quickly return to golf , and our bodies avidly follow. Thus we encounter an age-old problem: morning delays to allow the frost to clear or enable the green surface to thaw. Often a confrontation arises between the golf professional and/or the superintendent on one side and club members on the other. Consider the problems of playing greens in the winter when frost or freezing occurs, and why play must be delayed, or even prevented, for a period of time. Everyone knows frost must clear off the grass before play can begin, but few people know why. Frost on the grass blades tells us that the water inside the leaves is frozen. Remember that water is the primary component of plant tissue. When this water is frozen, traffic on the turf causes the ice crystals in the cells to puncture through the cell walls, killing the plant tissue. Little damage is done to the crowns (growing points) or roots if only a light frost appears; however, when the frost is heavy, cell disruption may occur at the crown, thus killing the entire plant. Frost damage symptoms include white to light tan leaves where traffic has passed.
Traffic damage can be minimized by melting the frost with a light syringing of the greens when soil and air temperatures are above freezing. The simplest approach is to avoid traffic until the frost melts.
Another dangerous situation exists when the soil is completely frozen to the surface but the grass blades have thawed. Provided there is no frost or ice on the grass under this condition, then limited foot traffic creates little damage, if any.
At these times, heavy traffic or golf carts should be restricted from greens, tees and even fairways. This is the most favorable winter conditions, because when the soil is frozen it does not allow as much penetration of compaction and spikes, thus preventing damage to the grass roots. Since the blades are not frozen, they retain the resiliency needed to withstand light foot traffic.
Traffic damage on frozen turf areas usually occurs during periods of freezing or thawing. The most devastating situation occurs when the grass blades and the upper one-half to one inch of soil has thawed, but the ground beneath their level remains frozen. Traffic will create a shearing action of the roots, rhizomes, and crown tissues at this time. This is comparable to cutting the plant tissue from the underlying root system with a sod cutter. Complete kill of leaves, crowns, and rhizomes can occur if the temperatures soon drop below 20Â° F. Symptoms from this severe injury include whitish to dark brown leaves that may mat on the surface.
Once temperatures allow thawing to a depth of three to four inches, the probability of turf damage declines since about 75 percent of the root system is in the upper four inches of soil. Frequently soil probing is the only positive way to effectively monitor the freezing level. Traffic should be adjusted accordingly. *If you would like to read this article in it's entirety please go here: http://www.usga.org/course_care/articles/other/winter_play/Playing-Par-with-Jack-Frost/