Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Frost damage.

Last week we had some substantial frost in the mornings at all three courses and some days the 9th green at Chalk Mountain never thawed throughout the entire day. I posted information about frost delays here on the blog previously and please give that post a once over for more information about the specifics of what frost does to the turf plant.

In this post I ask for your patience as we deal with mother nature in regards to frost. Frost delays are not something we like to impose upon golfers as we understand your desire to get on the course as you all have busy schedules and responsibilities once your round of golf is complete. My staff is also eager to get out and get the day started, but if we are not cautious about what kind of damage traffic, be it by foot or tires, we will all experience the effects for at least 6 months or more. Have a look at these photos taken at Morro Bay last week after a frosty morning.

Notice the gray or off color turf in the form of tire tracks. These tracks were caused by staff doing their routine morning inspections as the frost was beginning to form just before the sun breaks the horizon. These tracks are now more of a brown color and will eventually fill in and regain their green color, but the plant has been weakened and compromised. These plants are having to utilize their carbohydrate reserves to heal themselves as photosynthesis is limited this time of year for Kikuyu grass. Kikuyu grass is a "warm season" turf and requires warmer soil temperatures and longer periods of daylight to remain actively growing, two things we are not currently experiencing.

Now I said that we may see the effects of this damage for up to 6 months, but you know as well as I do that the days begin to lengthen after Dec. 21 and temperatures begin to increase in February if not before. So why the period of 6 months instead of 2-4 months? As I stated the health of the plant has been compromised and theses areas may not be as full as other turf areas surrounding them. This may cause your ball to nestle down in these areas more creating a difficult lie. The other instance that may happen is, since the turf is weak, weeds have an advantage and may out compete this turf and block out the sun from these areas as temperatures rise. These weeds would also cause a difficult lie. Now imagine if these weakened areas of turf were on the greens! Your ball would not roll true and your footprints would be visible for extended periods of time on the greens creating unsightly aesthetics. Take a look at this picture.

This photo shows the actual footsteps from one foursome on an individual green. How would you like to putt through all of those damaged footprints?

I have information posted in each of the pro shops for you to peruse during your next frost delay, so ask the guys in the shop where to find this information. We ask for your patience during these delays and trust that we will get you on the courses as soon as it is safe to do so! Have a cup of coffee, enjoy the surrounding landscapes, and relax because mother nature is in no hurry, but we know that you are as anxious as we are to get things rolling!

"A person will blame all other accidents upon something else, but feels completely responsible for a hole in one." Unknown

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