As we brace for winter please take a peek into the typical WINTERIZATION process at Minor Park and other courses just like ours, we have been busy checking items off the list and ensuring a successful transition to the already much awaited spring/summer season. We invite play all year long, and hope to better educate about off-season practices with some of the information in this month’s blog.
Why cart path only in the off-season?
ü Golf Course: This is a biggie and likely the most impactful for those golfers who prefer riding. Simply put…Zoysia goes dormant, so fairways are extremely susceptible to damage. As a 500-600lb cart (with riders 750-1000lbs) rolls along, especially in high traffic areas, it compacts the soil and crushes the grass blades down below the crown of the plant. The crown means everything to overall plant health, the last mowing of the season grass is left at a higher height to allow the crown some insulation (like a down jacket) so it is protected from winter snow, ice and temps.
ü Golfer: Please keep in mind heavy repeat traffic over dormant zoysia risks stripping the insulation off the crown thereby exposing the plant to elements that may kill it, this will only be noticeable come spring when growth should begin.
Please keep carts on the path at all times when requested. It may be tempting to sneak off when no one is around but come spring everyone will see the effects of misplaced cart traffic. Please do your part so the course environment is more sustainable and cost-effective. We will distribute flags for those who have a physical disability when the conditions allow, please ask the staff so we can assist!
Why no ball washers and water coolers?
ü Golf Course: Another item on the checklist…removing the water coolers and ball washers to preserve them for repeat seasons. Like irrigation drainage we do this because of freeze/thaw to prevent cracking and damage. With each 10 gal cooler costing $100 and each ball washers $220 they are only used in-season. We know wet conditions can require help with ball cleaning so on Par 3s we leave them out with a mix of water/windshield wash which won’t freeze. Preserved ball washers are taken in each winter and refurbished to avoid total replacement.
ü Golfers: Please bring a damp towel to clean your ball and extra water in case of off-season/weather permitting set-up
Why 1-flag but 2 holes (cups) in the green?
ü Golf Course: What is the ‘2-cup rotation system’? With compounding frosts and below freezing temps the ground below the surface actually freezes, which prevents cup cutting, therefore to scatter foot traffic we use alternating flags and cut new cups when turf will accept it.
ü Golfers: With the 2-cup system, golfers play to the flag then when finished putting please move the flag to the opposite hole for the next group of golfers. If every group rotates the flags this way, it helps with traffic/cup wear. The difference in turf health in the spring is dramatic when this is done properly!
What are ‘winter’ tees?
ü Golf Course: The majority of Minor Park’s tee boxes have an area of cool season grass; their only purpose is to serve as a teeing ground during zoysia dormancy. The few zoysia-only boxes are closed and adjacent cool season grass is mowed down to provide a temporary tee. When tees and fairways are warm season Zoysia, it means exactly that…it’s a WARM season variety. Zoysia flourishes during hot summers, but when the temps get cold and it’s no longer green it’s no longer growing. Therefore any damage (divots, traffic) cannot mend until spring, so concentrated areas of turf loss cause poor playing conditions plus the expense of replacement sod.
ü Golfers: Golfers should tee off from the intentionally placed tee markers; while this makes the course shorter for a period, it sustains perfect tee conditions for all to enjoy in-season. Hey…this is your chance to take it low!
What’s the deal with frost delays?
ü Check out this quick video if you are interested in what’s up with frost…
This process uses a large air compressor that hooks up to the system that pumps air into the lines, pushing the remaining water in the lines out through irrigation heads. Just like disconnecting your hoses at home, golf courses must prevent miles of pipes from cracking due to freeze/thaw.