Friday, March 12, 2010

Snow & Ice Washed/Melted Away

It's hard to believe that just a couple days ago (Tuesday) the course was still covered with several inches of snow but today (Friday) it's nearly gone. A couple warm days and temperatures remaining consistently above freezing, as well as occasional rainfall this week has worked quite nicely toward helping with it's disappearance. Also, with the angle of the sun becoming more vertical each day, the radiant energy is now better absorbed by the snow and ground (warming and thawing it), compared to throughout the winter months when the sun is lower on the horizon and the energy is more easily refracted or bounced off, lessening it's warming effects.
Anxious to have a look at #11 (to see if our January ice removal efforts paid off) on Monday we chopped a hole in the ice, set up a water pump with a 2"hose, and "flood melted" the 3-4" snow layer. 
Throughout the rest of the week Mother Nature took care of the remaining melting process on all other parts of the course!

With all the melting in progress and the added moisture from rainfall, it's quite understandable that ground conditions are extremely soft. There are in fact many places throughout the course where the soil is still frozen at lower depths. The surface has thawed throughout, but the moisture is being held in the top few inches due to the frozen layer beneath. Continued above freezing temperatures, sunshine, and even rainfall will all aid soil thawing and the eventual drainage that will follow.
Ice still present on portions of #3 fairway

Right now it is very important that we avoid any traffic (vehicular, or pedestrian) until this drainage occurs. Compaction, the compressing of soil structure and collapsing of vital pore spaces (which are essential for proper aeration, water holding capacity, and for drainage of excess water) will occur very easily under these saturated conditions. Also, with the soil easily shifted with every footprint and/or vehicle tire pass, turf roots (which are now beginning their most active growth phase) are easily sheared or torn and greatly damaged.

At this time our grounds staff are refraining from any equipment or vehicle travel, on any turf surface on the property, and even limiting foot traffic as much as possible. I know it is very tempting to walk around the course or grab a club and hit a few balls around, but please give it a little more time to completely thaw and allow excess moisture to drain. It will prevent damage and give the turf a better chance to get a good start to the new season. I'm sure it will be very soon that we'll be able to let course travel resume.
Your patience, understanding, and cooperation is very much appreciated!

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