There is no frost at Tucson City Golf. Yes, while other courses in the Southwest are in a frost delay, we are open for play. In years past this was accomplished by keeping carts on paths and the use of temporary greens. These greens were cut at tee height in the approach. I always felt this was a disservice to a winter visitor that had no idea they would be putting on temporary greens or on a non-frost day, slow fuzzy greens. To avoid this at Randolph Golf Complex, we have changed how our 328 Bermuda grass greens are overseeded.
Our greens use to be overseeded with a mixture of Rye and Poa trivialis, using the Rye as a nurse crop that germinated quickly while the trivialis took three weeks. The problems are that Rye must be mowed higher when the course opens and that it’s also damaged by foot traffic during frost because of the water holding capacity of the plant cell.
This year we overseeded our greens and collars using only Havana Poa trivialis, which holds much less water in its cells cut at a low height of 9/64”. We started this process three weeks before closing for overseeding. The greens were lowered to 1/8” and seeded in three directions then lightly topdressed before play. Because the seed is so small and 328 Tiffgreen is not as dense as the newer ultra-dwarf Bermuda’s, the only thing our players noticed were paint lines to mark where seed was spread. Our greens were then not mowed for two days and the height was raised back up to 9/64”. While closed for our normal 12 days for overseeding tees, fairways and surrounds the trivialis had this time to grow-in still being mowed at 9/64”. When we opened, our greens rolled smooth, fast and true.
There will not be temporary greens this year, no frost delays and players will be putting on regulation greens. In addition, one more change was also made. We used a dwarf-type perennial Rye grass on tees, fairways and surrounds following the contours and undulations of the course. A dwarf-type doesn’t just keep growing and makes for a better playing surface without mower clipping everywhere. It is also a Gly-Rye. This means it has a resistance to Glyphosate (Roundup®). So when we spray out winter weeds in our dormant roughs, there will be no worry of carts tracking herbicide into the overseeded turf.