The 2017 winter and 2018 spring have been very extreme and have led to winterkill issues in our warm season Bermudagrass turf areas such as tees, collars, fairways and roughs. To date, we have replaced 20,000 sq.ft. with an additional 20,000 sq. ft. remaining to be replaced in these areas. The early hard frost in late October, extreme cold in December and January, and the record-setting cold April has also done extensive damage to our new Ultradwarf Bermuda grass greens at Scotsdale.
Our first hard frost of 25 degrees occurred on October 25 instead of the typical freeze closer to Thanksgiving. This was followed up by average lows 15-20 degrees below normal during January and February. We experienced five days of 10 degrees or lower, 3 days of 0 degrees, 13 additional days in the mid-teens, numerous mid-20-degree days and two occasions of temperatures staying below freezing for 12 days and 6 days respectfully. Then April came with the coldest temps in recorded history for NW Arkansas.
Initial damage to the Scotsdale greens was done with both direct cold temperatures in January along with the extended periods of below freezing. As the 1-year old greens tried to come out in late March and early April, the final stretch of cold (24 degree and 29 degrees) along with the overall averages at 20 degrees below normal, was too much for the immature greens.
Fourteen of the 18 greens at Scotsdale have 50-80% loss of turf, and would not be able to fill in naturally before summers end. Therefore, it is necessary to re-establish these greens. The process will be similar to the initial establishment in the summer of 2016. This process involves removal of cores through aeration, dragging in material, hand planting and cutting in Champions Ultradwarf Bermuda sprigs, rolling, top dressing and non-stop watering for 10-14 days. In addition, an aggressive pre-plant and establishment regiment of fertility recommended by the turf supplier will be utilized. Once the sprigs have been watered the first time, and with optimal hot weather conditions, it requires 8 to 10 weeks to bring greens to playing condition.
Scotsdale will officially close Saturday, May 12th at 2 PM. This closure will allow our staff to prepare the greens for sprigging, get the sprigs delivered, and get the contractor mobilized and pre-positioned. Our goal is to reopen for play on September 1st.
Since the golf course will be closed, we will take this opportunity to fix the 12th green at Scotsdale. The plan is to eliminate the extreme slope on the green and make a much more playable putting surface with more quality cup locations. The work on the 12th green will involve a golf course architect and contractor to establish slope, contours and to do the final shaping work. We will be able to save most of the Latitude 36 collar grass installed during initial establishment for reuse on new collar area.
The more mature greens at Brittany, which are also Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda, sustained only a modest amount of winter kill. As an added precaution, in case we have two extreme winters in a row, we plan on purchasing new covers for the greens which are designed for harsh conditions.
We apologize for any inconvenience the closure of Scotsdale may cause, unfortunately it is impossible to debate with Mother Nature.