As the temperature finally increases and the sun shines, the golf course is starting to get busier. On these sunny, warm days, there are inevitable questions about why carts are not permitted off of the paths. Zoysiagrass, being a warm season grass goes dormant in the winter. Because it is no longer growing and lacks recuperative capacity, it cannot stand up to stresses of cart traffic. For this reason, we restrict most carts from driving on the turf (exceptions made for senior/handicapped golfers during dry conditions)
Typically the Zoysia starts to green up around April 1st. This can vary based on severity of winter conditions, but is usually fairly consistent and this year is no different. With frost in the winter, the soil heaves from expansion and contraction, which leaves the fairways soft to begin with. Unfortunately, we have been consistently wet in April, with close to 4 inches of rain in the first two weeks. This, coupled with some unseasonably cool conditions, has kept the fairways soft, and delayed both cart traffic, and maintenance practices.
Effect of shade on transitioning
As conditions begin to dry out, we will begin practices that will firm up the fairways (rolling) and stimulate new growth (brushing and mowing). Our goal is always to allow the membership to enjoy the golf course as easily as possible. It is important to take steps to prevent permanent damage though, and excess traffic on wet and dormant turf will be evident throughout the season if we are not prudent.
Rolling to firm up surfaces
We are finally able to start some of the processes necessary to allow cart traffic, and monitor conditions on a daily basis. Our goal is to allow carts of the path as soon as it can be done without damaging the course in the long term. Please stay tuned to this blog, daily emails from the club, and follow our twitter accounts for updates on daily course conditions. Warm and dry weather is right around the corner. Look forward to seeing you on the golf course.
Greg Nickerson, Assistant Grounds Superintendent
firstname.lastname@example.org and twitter @ganick23