Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter Golf Course Conditioning


One of the greatest challenges in golf course maintenance is creating consistent playing conditions on a daily basis. The goal of the maintenance team is to create consistent conditioning year-round and keep in mind there is much more that goes into the science of maintaining quality turfgrass other than just watering, mowing, and fertilizing. Factor in the curve balls that Mother Nature throws our way (rain in the winter, hot spells during the summer) and conditioning can change significantly from one day to the next. The winter months can be the most challenging as one might come to play on a 70-degree day only to find carts restricted to path, fairways soggy in spots, and greens that putt slower than normal. The golf course consists of a living plant and weather plays a major factor in the conditioning of the golf course. While we are mowing the greens at the same height of cut as we did during the summer, they play differently due to fluctuating weather events. You may remember that several weeks back the greens were too fast due to consecutive days of frost and afternoon wind. Those two extremes inhibit growth, dry out the putting surface and create lightening fast greens…again even if we are cutting at the same height as the summer. During the past two weeks the golf course has benefited from favorable weather conditions, causing a growth spurt especially in the grass around the greens and bunkers. There is a lot of grass out there right now, but that indicates the health of the course is optimal and the maintenance team has been working diligently to ensure the course is kept playable throughout the winter months.

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