Friday, January 5, 2018

A Matter of Course: What is the Impact of Sub Zero Temps?

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

Are these sustained sub-zero temperatures harming or injuring the golf course??? The USGA states, “Winter injury is a very complex event because it is controlled by many variables that are not completely understood.”

During these windy sub-zero temperatures, two winter injuries can occur: low temperature kill and desiccation.

Low Temperature Kill
As of now, low temperature kill is not a concern because of our high population of bentgrass on our playing surfaces. Bentgrass has a very high tolerance for low temperatures and can withstand this type of weather pattern. As an added benefit, the average 6” of snow is insulating and protecting the bentgrass.

Desiccation is the drying of the plant due to the exposure of low temperatures, high winds and no added precipitation. This past fall, just prior to the low temperatures and snow, we executed a couple of a preventative practices for desiccation.

 First, we sprayed an anti-desiccant on all high exposed areas (i.e. #6 green, putting green and etc.). An anti-desiccant is coating that helps protect and lock in moisture on the bentgrass leaf blades and crown. Second, we did a heavy topdressing application on all greens and tees (seen below). By doing this, the sand acts as an insulator from the low temperatures and cool high winds.

The most important and natural element to minimizing and/or eliminating low temperature kill and desiccation is snow. Snow is the best insulator for the golf course; it protects from high winds, locks in warmth for the plant to survive and keeps the plants hydrated. As of today, with current conditions, we are setup for the course to over winter nicely.

Winter Projects
On a positive note, we have been able to complete some projects during the deep freeze. Below are just some of the projects the Grounds Department has completed:

Repaired and re-routed irrigation lines around #13 tee

Installed a new Simulator screen

Re-leveled the Simulator floor

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