Frost Delays: friend or foe?
It's that time of year where us west coasters either wake up with puddles on the ground from all night rains, or we need to scrape the frosty car windshield before heading to work in the morning!
We are all probably familiar with scraping the windshield, but what does frost do to grass?
Frost typically develops on cold, clear nights when water inside of blades of grass freeze. As you can imagine, being frozen from the inside out causes the thin blades of grass to become very fragile and prone to damage, especially under pressure from heavy objects.
Now what does this have to do with golf?
To state the obvious, grass kind of plays an important role in golf. Frosty grass can be pretty easily damaged but the most at risk turf is really short grass such as on a putting green. The simple act of walking on a frosty green can rupture the plant cells causing severe and lasting damage to the turf. Damage like this can cause turf to die, but it can also weaken the turf enabling it to become more susceptible to diseases later in the season; neither is a good scenario.
Since frost often appears on clear nights, a sunny morning often follows which can be super tempting for golfers craving a round in an otherwise dreary fall.
Now let's look at a typical round of golf: the average foursome takes 300 steps on every single putting green, according to the United States Golf Association.
When walking on a frosty green, you might be able to see your footprints, but it probably doesn't look like anything has actually gone wrong with the playing surface. However, in a day or two each of those 300 steps could start to show signs of serious damage to the turf. In reality, it's really unlikely for only one group to play golf on a sunny day so let's imagine that ten foursomes play before the frost melts. Each of those frosty greens now have 3,000 or more damaging steps on their surfaces. That is a LOT of potential for significant turf damage.
When we choose to go on a frost delay, we don't take the decision lightly. We are simply doing our best to protect our greens from potential damage so that they are in fantastic condition for our golfers during the rest of the season!
What can you expect during a frost delay at Redwoods?
We aim to keep our golfers informed as much as possible. As soon as we know that there will be a frost delay, we will notify all golfers on the tee sheet immediately by email--this is why it's important to have your customer profile fully updated with your current email info! Once we know the exact length of delay we will send out another email with your new tee of time. Pretty simple! When playing late fall and winter golf, we recommend checking your emails before you leave the house, even if it doesn't look frosty where you are. With our tree lined shaded fairways and tiered course we tend to see a little more frost than our neighbors.
We hope to see you on a sunny day soon!