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  • Terravita Agronomy

Our Annual Frost PSA

We've been blessed with astonishingly favorable temps and weather, perfect for playing golf with no interruption. The down side to this, is we seem to forget how inconvenient frost delays can be and more importantly, why we have them. Here are some questions we get every year and some brief explanations for each.

"It's 44 degrees on my patio, we don't have frost!" There are several factors that play into that temperature reading. Is your thermometer under a patio or awning? Similar to a blanket over a plant, the awning prevents frost from forming by creating a warmer micro climate. Did you get that temperature reading from your phone? Again, micro climates affect more than you think, and unless the weather station collecting your data is placed on the first green, there's no way to know whether or not there will be frost with just your cell phone. So let's assume your patio thermometer reads 44 degrees. Well, if you were to walk out on to the fairway (please don't do this), you'll notice the temperature drop dramatically. You don't have a heated stucco structure to your back, a cement patio below your feet, and a cover over head. You're surrounded by grass, more airflow, last nights irrigation, and drops and rises in elevation. All of these create individual micro climates that sway the temperature in either direction dramatically.

"The Boulders didn't have frost today, so why do we?" The first defense to this question is, again, micro climates. In addition other factors such as irrigation the night prior, mowing heights, amount of shade, elevation of the first few holes, and set up expectations help determine the length of the delay. I am not speaking to the Boulder's here specifically, but different clubs have different maintenance expectations. Typically daily fee and resort golf courses have dollar signs in their face when making this decision. Revenue often outweighs playing conditions. As long as the set up won't cause dramatic long term damage, they often will send out groups. Terravita is more than a dollar sign for you, this is your home, your asset, and I am here to make tough decisions to protect it.

"We never had this many frost delays in the past, what's changed?" While I cannot speak to the past, I can say that this club will ALWAYS have my best interest in mind. I know that you, the golfer, do not want a 3 hour frost delay, but I know that you, the golfer, absolutely do not want a course half set up with subtle frost damage. We have to look at the big picture, the maintenance standards, and the long term protection of our golf course.

"The frost was gone at 8 am, why can't we tee off until 9?" Frost delays apply to my staff every bit as much as it applies to golfers, if you can't play, we can't set up the golf course. So that additional time delay after frost is gone, allows us to set up. We are often pressured to leave water off or mow less in order to get play out sooner, which we will often comply with. But at the end of the day, we have a standard to achieve out there, and need to be given the proper amount of time to do it.

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