Monday, March 28, 2011

Cold Weather Slows Course Opening

The combination of last week's cold temperatures and this week's predicted cold weather has caused the golf course to take a step backward. In order for the golf course to open, we must first be certain that all frost has left the ground. Traffic on frozen turf and soil, even foot traffic from golfers, can cause a significant amount of damage to the plants themselves. The turf at NSCC is very susceptible to damage at this point in the year. Until the plants are once again growing, they are unable to recover from any damage that they may receive from play. The golf course maintenance staff is eagerly watching the forecast in anticipation of course opening. To date, our activities on the golf course have been limited due to the frozen conditions. While some course clean-up has been completed, much work remains to get done. As the frost leaves the ground, the golf course maintenance staff will begin preparing the course for opening. Activities such as bunker repair cannot be completed until the bunkers are free from snow and the sand is no longer frozen.

The picture above helps to illustrate how fragile turf can be when the ground is frozen and the plants have not yet begun to grow. The brown tire tracks are clearly distinguishable in the photo taken of 8 Blue fairway. While the picture was taken recently, the damage was done in December when we applied black sand to fairways in order to melt the ice. Imagine for a moment the potential damage that could occur should golfers be allowed to walk on frozen fairways, tees, and putting surfaces. This picture not only illustrates how the decision to remove ice should not be taken lightly, but also how sensitive the turf can be during the winter and early spring. Many areas such as this exist throughout the course which will be noticeable upon course opening. In most cases this damage seems superficial and the turf should quickly recover following a couple weeks of growth.

As the forecast indicates, temperature appear to warm significantly toward the end of next week. These temperatures coupled with the hard work of the golf course maintenance staff will allow us to open the course as soon as we are able. Both I and the turf thank you for your patience.

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