Considering it is early April, most golfers are probably not thinking about the weather pattern that was experienced in the weeks leading up to Christmas. However, the impact of subzero temperatures and high winds on exposed turf may be on display this spring as play resumes.
Reports have been mixed on the severity of winter injury as warmer temperatures arrive and the turf breaks dormancy. It is likely that not every green at a golf course was impacted at the same level and it is even possible that courses located near each other experienced different levels of injury. This just highlights how each putting green is located in its own unique microclimate and how golf courses in close proximity to each other can be affected by weather conditions differently.
If there is winter injury on putting greens, golfers must be patient early in the season. In some situations, temporary greens may be necessary to promote recovery and prevent further injury. In other situations, the best course of action may be for a golf course to remain closed longer to hasten recovery and minimize the amount of stress placed on the turf. Mother Nature is in the driver’s seat as far as the timetable goes. Until favorable temperatures allow for vigorous turf growth, there will be little recovery.
The recently published Green Section Record article "Winterkill Recovery Strategies” is an excellent resource to help golf course superintendents navigate the recovery process following winter injury. For additional support addressing winter injury concerns at your facility, please reach out to your regional USGA agronomist.
Central Region Agronomists:
Zach Nicoludis, regional director – email@example.com
Paul Jacobs, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section Staff