Monday, November 21, 2016

First Frost and What to Expect at Harrison Bay This Winter

This morning we experienced our first full frost of the season as the temperatures at the course dipped to 25 degrees.  It was quite a shock to the system since we were at 79 degrees at the end of last week.  As this will not be our last frost, and in turn frost delay, this year I wanted to try and pass along some information about why we need to keep foot traffic, cart traffic, and maintenance equipment off of frosted grass in order to keep it alive and healthy.

Again the United States Golf Association can explain better than I can what happens to grass when it is under the grips of cold weather and frost.

We all hate to have our round delayed but we have worked too hard to get our golf course back in shape this year to allow anything to risk damaging it now.  So please be patient as we allow the frost to burn off and realize that we are doing it for the betterment of the golf course, not to keep you from your round.

Good Lord willing you will not see any heavy equipment tearing up the golf course this winter like last year with The Renovation of #3 Green and Installation of Drainage in #10 Fairway.  We will be continuing to make improvement to the golf course however with smaller projects.  Projects for this winter will include limbing up of trees to provide clearer shots for you the golfer and more sunlight for the turf.  We will also be installing more cross tie curbing along the cart paths in needed areas and will be renovating the main sign at the front entrance.  Lots of work but all intended to make your course better.

As I said before we are going to make every decision this winter with the health and survival of the turfgrass in mind.  So we may not be mowing the greens first thing in the morning or changing cups right before play goes out or other practices that are routinely done before play during the summer.  These practices will be done later in the day when we are positive that the greens surface and the surrounds are free of frost and are not frozen.

We will be foregoing our normal painting of the greens this year in an effort to eliminate any foreign substances covering the leaf blades and blocking any issues that we need to be seeing during the dormant season that might be harming the greens.  Hopefully there will be enough distinction between the putting surface and the greens surrounds and if needed we will apply a dose of our normal green dye that we use when applying our routine foliar fertilizer and plant protectants.

I can also tell you to expect a greater probability of the greens being covered this winter compared to past years.  In the past I have pushed the envelope on whether or not to cover the greens during questionably and potentially damaging weather to try and keep the golf course open for play.  However I realize that I may have been putting the health of the turfgrass at a greater risk than what the reward was worth.  Like all other decisions, when and if we cover will be done with the greens health and survivability in mind.

As you can tell from the tone of this post there is a different mindset at Harrison Bay going forward.  We have recovered from a trying and hard summer and our course is in the best condition that it has been in many, many years.  We will do what ever it takes to keep it that way and we hope you understand and agree with our decisions.

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