Mild winter temperatures draw visitors – and the dollars they leave behind – to the Valley of the Sun in droves. Thanks to the hard work of the golf course maintenance teams, a green blanket of ryegrass is waiting for them.
In the desert Southwest, as well as other Southern regions, bermudagrass goes dormant as the nighttime temperatures dip below 50 degrees. Almost overnight, the turf turns brown and to the uninformed eye, looks dead. But like the hard-to-kill horror movie villain, it comes back with a vengeance the next summer. In the meantime, it’s not a very pretty or practical surface for golf.
Dormant bermudagrass is susceptible to damage, especially in high-traffic areas – tees, greens, and fairways – right when the golf courses are busiest. Overseeding with a winter ryegrass accomplishes more than just greener aesthetics. It also allows for turf recovery. Actively growing green grass repairs damage caused by play; brown dormant grass does not.
The crews scalp the bermudagrass to the dirt and plant ryegrass over the top – hence the name “overseed.” The labor-intensive process hollows out a big line item on the budget, but once the grow-in is complete and fairways are groomed in a big-league-style checkerboard pattern, it’s well worth the effort.
What to Expect
Despite ever-increasing watering efficacies in the golf course agronomy world, upon reopening the conditions are a bit damp, so it’s a good idea to play a tee box forward. To protect the baby blades, golf carts must stay on the cart paths for several weeks after reopening. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this one.
The rates following overseed are generally reasonable, and availability is good until January when peak-season rates kick in and the number of Valley visitors swells. Those who are not concerned about the cons listed above can find a ton of value during this timeframe. It’s also a great window of opportunity for those who typically play their rounds during the heat of the summer to get out for reasonable rates at reasonable temperatures.
Superior Surface, Spectacular Location
Although it’s quite the undertaking to plant new playing surfaces each year, the process boosts tourism by drawing golfers worldwide to experience the game at its best in one of the most picturesque locations on the planet.
The Arizona Golf Association puts together a schedule covering Arizona golf course from the 500 Club to Yuma Golf & Country Club.