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Winter turf conditions - what you should know

It’s a great start to the winter – all the rain we’ve received lately has us hoping for more to come. It’s quite alarming how quickly we go from summer to winter around here. We’ve had nightly temps down in the 20s already, causing some frost delays. It seemed like a two-week transition.

With the low temperatures, our new hybrid Bermuda grass goes dormant, just as all “warm season” grasses do. Common Bermuda goes dormant before the hybrid variety, but eventually it will all be straw colored until about mid-February. It causes a bit of a blotchy look on the fairways – this is normal during our two coldest months. It is still an excellent playing surface – if you haven’t been out for a while, you need to play and see how well it plays. By the end of the next growing season, we will be pretty close to 70% Bermuda on most fairways, except for a couple that are coming in a little slower. 

We have already begun to see significant water savings.  As the Bermuda continues to take over, we will be able to put out even less water to sustain the new turf.   Last year the Bermuda began greening up about Valentine’s Day, and I expect things to go the same way in 2016. 
Have a happy holiday season and I’ll see you out on the golf course,
Jason Pautsch, GCSAA Superintendent