Superintendent's Corner

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Expect Spring Frost Delays 

Greenhaven Certified Golf Course Superintendent Mike Brual is ready for Spring Frost; in this edition he shares why sometimes delaying start times proves critical to our golf experience and the health of the asset that is our golf course. One new frost delay benefit for golfers is we should be able to find a “good hot cup” in the new restaurant when the news of frost delay comes. Let’s approach those times with a new understanding of what is occurring in the golf shop and the pressure building down the hill. Thanks to Mike for his time and insight in sharing new information about the golf course and its Turf Management and Maintenance Operation. As for the hot cup, time will tell.
— Chris Olson

As winter starts to give way to spring-like temperatures, the desire to hit the golf course intensifies. It also signals a change in golf course management activities that can affect one’s game and the condition of the course.

Here in Anoka and many areas of the country, golfers occasionally face frost delays in the spring, thus pushing back starting tee times. When frost is present we delay play and maintenance until the frost has melted. This is done to prevent damage that affects the quality of the playing surface and could potentially be very expensive to repair.

Frost is basically frozen dew that has crystallized on the grass, making it hard and brittle. A grass blade is actually 90% water, therefore it also freezes. Because of the short mowing height and fragile nature of the turf, putting greens are the most affected by frost. Walking on frost-covered greens causes the plant to break and cell walls to rupture, thereby losing its ability to function normally. When the membrane is broken, much like an egg, it cannot be put back together. 

As Turf Managers we do not like to delay play, but are more concerned about turf damage and the quality of conditions for the golfer. Frost also creates hardships for our maintenance operation as all course preparations are put to a halt until thawing occurs. Golf carts also can cause considerable damage, therefore staff cannot maneuver around the course to mow, change cups, etc.…

- Mike Brual CGCS