On Saturday morning I was frustrated to wake up to a frost having checked the forecast the previous night and expecting to have all the main greens in play. As I walked round and changed the greens over I was thinking of the members that would also be waking up to a surprise frost and the realisation that they would be playing on winter greens. If it frustrates me with the understanding of why we use the winter greens and the fact that I don’t play on them, then it’s definitely going to frustrate the members. I thought I would write this blog to help with the understanding of why we use winter greens at Ponteland.
Winter time is a period where protecting the mains greens is of the upmost importance, with low temperatures meaning growth and recovery is very slow, any damage we can prevent means come spring we are a step closer to target greens performance. Next time you’re out on the course look at the wear and damage on the winter greens and then imagine that damage on the main greens. It’s a case of short term pain for long term benefits. Some courses do however use main greens all winter and that’s great for them that that fits into their course plan for the year but unfortunately it doesn’t fit into ours. During the autumn we encourage root development as much as possible and then it is imperative to protect that new root development throughout the winter. By playing on frozen greens not only does it damage the grass leaf but it also causes a shearing effect on the roots. The root system of our greens grass type (Poa annua) has a hard time, during the spring the plant puts the majority of its energy into seed production, over the summer due to heat, maintenance and player stress the root system is reduced and for the majority of the winter the plant shuts down. That is why we do our best to protect the greens from wear during frozen conditions. I would like to thank the membership for their patience over the winter with regards to the use of winter greens but the benefit of using them certainly warrants it.