There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Cold temperatures can damage bermudagrass. History has shown that unprotected bermudagrass putting greens are often the first victim of an all-bermudagrass golf course to succumb to colder temperatures. Fortunately, turf covers can dramatically decrease the chance of winter injury. Golf courses with ultradwarf putting greens in the transition zone (like NW Arkansas) need covers and must deploy them when conditions warrant.
We purchased green covers as part of the overall greens conversion project at Scotsdale this year. We also have covers that we have been using since the installation of the ultradwarf bermudagrass greens at Brittany. We will utilize the following guidelines this winter at Scotsdale. These guidelines are based on our past experience with the greens at Brittany, guidelines provided to us by our ultradwarf bermudagrass supplier, Champion Turf Farm, and recommendations from the USGA Agronomist, Chris Hartwiger, who visits our facility each year.
Since our Scotsdale greens are new we will be utilizing a more conservative approach this first winter, deploying covers when the temperatures are forecast to be below 27F and trending down. It will be necessary to close the course the day before since it requires a minimum of 6 hours to complete deployment on all 18 holes plus putting and nursery greens. Once temperatures allow for the removal of tarps an additional day will be required to remove the tarps as well. We will give as much advanced notice as possible to the Golf Shop personnel, Golf Operations Office and on Today’s Play on the web.
We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation during our first winter with the new greens.