It’s been a long cold winter and with record levels of snow and ice in the northeast, many of us have been unable to swing a club for quite a while. Now that spring is in the air, the Masters in on television and the snow birds are returning home, everyone is anxious to get out and play golf. But, with a winter like this one what might one expect when it comes to course conditioning?
With snow cover into the third week in March, maintenance crews, like golfers, haven’t been able to get on the course either. Every course on Long Island has gotten a late start with spring cleanup. Large projects usually slated for the winter months, have been pushed into the spring or postponed indefinitely. Grounds crews will be working hard to make up for some lost time. So it’s likely that conditioning might not be what some would expect right away.
Also, despite popular opinion, extended snow cover is not always a good thing for turf. While a nice winter snow can have an insulating effect, extended periods of snow and ice cover can be problematic. After about 40 days or so of solid ice cover, anaerobic conditions can start to develop under the ice leading to turf damage. This is especially a concern of superintendents managing annual bluegrass greens. Additionally, the rapid freezing and thawing of water soaked turf, like we saw earlier in the winter, may have led to problems as well. So, without boring you with technical talk about things like anoxia, snow mold and crown hydration, don’t be surprised if you see some winter damage as you play around the Island this spring.
Here at Pine Ridge, our greens, tees and fairways are predominately creeping bentgrass. While bent takes a longer time to green up and get growing in the early spring, it is far more tolerant of winters like the one we just had than annual bluegrass. We are expecting minimal issues and another great year in 2016. As always, our team is will be working hard to treating all our guests to a fun and enjoyable golf experience. Hope to see you out there soon.