I would like to take some time to explain a few of the factors that I use to determine the date to open the golf course. There are at this time some limiting factors that we have against us currently. In my previous post, I have reported a pretty serious outbreak of snow mold on the golf course fairways and tees. We have been able to make a chemical application to some of the diseased turf, but there is still considerable snow cover on the course and we have not been able to treat all the areas. I have removed a turf sample out of 15 fairway and currently growing the turf in the shop. I am trying to determine the extent of the damage. At this time, I would suspect that we will have to reseed some of the areas this spring.
The top of the soil and turf surface is thawing, but the soil below is still quite frozen. This imp eds the movement of water through the soil. The golf course at this time is not conducive to traffic. This is the main factor that I use to determine the opening date of the golf course. Soft wet soils are susceptible to compaction and may also lead to bumpy turf for a prolonged period of time. With the frozen subsoil the turf plants may be sheared off and cause lasting negative effects to the plant health.
I will be using a soil probe to check the depth of the frost layer. When the frost is out of the ground then it will be time to start rolling the turf and then mowing. This will help firm and smooth the ground. Once the golf course has been rolled and mowed at least once it will then be safe to open the golf course. A little time at this time of the year will pay off in the long run.
The answer to the million dollar question! I really do not know at this time. The weather reports keep changing and I see continued cool and damp weather ahead. I would suspect that we will open the first week in April. Time will tell and we will do are best to open the course as soon as possible.