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boogielicious

How are courses determined to be ready to open in Northern Climates?

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I know there are a few experts here on The Sand Trap with regards to greens keeping and course maintenance, like @wils5150 .  How do you determine the course is ready to play, especially after a nasty winter?  Also, is snow good for the course, greens, etc?

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Don't know about "specifics" of course conditioning, but I DO know that many courses would prefer a layer of snow to remain on the greens all through the winter. The deeper the better. IT actually insulates the ground from the frigid temps/thawing which can damage the grass. Keeps it a constant temperature under there. Not sure, but I've heard of northern tier courses layering some straw and landscape fabric over the greens for that reason.

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I saw my buddy this morning who is a manager at one of the local country clubs here in Iowa.  He said that they would love to open up in the next couple of weeks if the weather keeps getting better but he is concerned about his course due to the frost line going down to 48" this year.  He already knows that he will have irrigation issues for sure but wants to make the sure the ground has some recovery time as well.

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snow is good, ice is bad. Some courses do cover problem greens. as far as opening general rule of thumb is all frost out of the ground.

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Public course decisions to open are made on an individual basis.   I've lived in both Ohio and Missouri where winters can get bad, and courses open when there is no snow on the ground.   Whether the turf is frozen solid means nothing, so long as the greens don't have frost.  (there is a difference)

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most public courses want money so the will open when ever they can. and yes playing on frozen ground does effect conditions down the road

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most public courses want money so the will open when ever they can. and yes playing on frozen ground does effect conditions down the road


I guess we can agree to disagree!! :-P

Playing on hard frozen ground isn't going to hurt anything.    On the other hand, walking on frosted greens will leave discolored footprints behind due to the damage caused to the grass.

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I guess we can agree to disagree!!

You do realize @wils5150 is a suprintendent, yes?

Walking on frozen grass is bad. That's why courses have frost delays: you can effectively kill grass (as even you noted about leaving footprints on the greens).

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You do realize @wils5150 is a suprintendent, yes?

Walking on frozen grass is bad. That's why courses have frost delays: you can effectively kill grass (as even you noted about leaving footprints on the greens).

The ground can be frozen solid underneath after the frost is long gone.   These are two complete different things............

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Here in Norway we have long winters and cold weather. The courses is always in best shape when we have cold winters with snow early in the winter, and it stays cold trough the winter. The worst scenario is various temperatures ice on the green under the snow. We call this a ''grasfire'' and the gras dies, starting seasons with really bad gras on greens and it has a brown colour.

Some of the old courses who have known to be good always can be almost destroyed for a whole season if this happens. I know that some of the courses with a lot of money have the greens lifted up, so it's like a empty 2 meters space between under the green and the earth, and they install a heating system to prevent greens from iceing.

Sorry for writing bad english but it's not always easy to explain technical things in foreign laungages.

The courses known to be the best in the country variates season after season after who is lucky and not. That said there are several things that can prevent ice without heat underneath. But the greenkeepers have a hell of a job working with 3 meters snow :)

EDIT: IF YOU HIT A BIG DIVOT ON FROZEN GRAS IT HAS TO BE RE-SOWN, trust me on this... Even the softspikes on your shoes can kill the gras if the conditions are right.

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The ground can be frozen solid underneath after the frost is long gone.   These are two complete different things............

Yes. I guess I took your comment to mean everything was frozen, not just the dirt. OK.

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The snow is melting here in western MD. Now instead of slipping on ice, were slipping in a good inch of mud from 30 something inches of snow melting. How does mud and wet conditions delay a course opening? Ive been itching to get back out after 5 months off, I'm hoping they open April first.

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The snow is melting here in western MD. Now instead of slipping on ice, were slipping in a good inch of mud from 30 something inches of snow melting. How does mud and wet conditions delay a course opening? Ive been itching to get back out after 5 months off, I'm hoping they open April first.

I've never had mud issues on the golf course if I stay on the grass.    The course may be waterlogged with water squirting on every step, but mud is never a problem.  Yes....if you knock one in a ditch or in the woods, you get what you ask for if you walk in after it!!  That should go without saying!!

My shoes generally stay clean because if my ball goes sideways where the mud is on the wrong side of a red line, I leave it for somebody else to wade through the mud to pick up. LOL

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most public courses want money so the will open when ever they can.

That is the case around here, southest Michigan. The better courses wait for the ground to thaw while a number of public courses looking to start the revenue stream will open as soon as most of the fairways are clear of snow and ice.  There are a couple tracks I play early or late in the year but mainly skip during the real season.

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The ground can be frozen solid underneath after the frost is long gone.   These are two complete different things............


yup they are two different things that both have a negative affect on course conditions. one major problem is when the frozen turf starts to thaw, this causes major root shearing. Most private clubs will stay closed untill the hazzard passes while the public tracks get income asap.

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Courses in South Dakota cover their greens with sand before the first snowstorm hits(usually in November). That seems to help protect them.

Yesterday and today were 65+ degrees so that will help alot. All the snow is now gone. The course will be open the last week in March I'm betting.

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I guess we can agree to disagree!!

Playing on hard frozen ground isn't going to hurt anything.    On the other hand, walking on frosted greens will leave discolored footprints behind due to the damage caused to the grass.


you are correct about playing on frost but wrong about playing on frozen ground. I have been a Superintendent for over 20 years and have seen the damage first hand.

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