Covering greens is a challenging but necessary process. First we strategically plan so we can ideally insulate the greens, preserving the warmest air prior to the wind and cold hitting. Believe it or not, WIND is the greater enemy when it comes to protecting our warm season turf. Not only does it make the tarps blow like an out of control parachute, but the danger to delicate Bermuda greens increases, we refer to the term desiccation to best explain what we are working to prevent.
DESICCATION: Desiccation, also known as winter drought, is the term used to describe turf grass death due to drying out over the course of winter when the grass is dormant or semi-dormant. Desiccation is more likely to appear in areas where soil was dry prior to entering winter or where there has been little snow precipitation or cover throughout the cool winter months. NOTE: In regions where drought occurs regularly throughout the season, desiccation is more likely to be prominent (i.e. the Dakotas, Kansas, Nebraska and others). - Reference: Turf Care Supply
For this reason our first order of business is to hydrate by hand watering each green the day before we anticipate covering. Then we must manage guest play as we work to get 36 greens prepped and covered for cold wind and freezing temperatures.
We would much prefer to stay open and keep our staffs working and golfers happy, but alas, Mother Nature reigns supreme. If we don’t play it conservative the potential cost of turf loss for one green can be $3,000-$4,000 to strip then reseed or resod. Multiply that cost x36 greens in addition to the lost rounds and trust from the playing public and it makes sense that all golf courses are conservative about the process of covering and UNcovering warm-season Bermuda greens during severe winter weather.
Our fingers are crossed that this next stretch of bad weather is short-lived, so you can all move on with your golf goals for 2018 and we can put the tarps away for the season!
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