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How Has Louisiana Golf Faired From Winter?

It has been a very strange year of weather, especially this past winter. Temperatures dipped to freezing, It rained, it warmed up, then it went near freezing again, and so on. That pattern of weather is not good for golf courses in Louisiana. It really hasn't been good for golf courses in the greater New Orleans area.

Now that Spring is here we wanted to talk about how the courses have handled those strange conditions. Some faired better than others that is for sure, and is apparent by the photos below, all taken within the past 30 - 60 days.

During a normal winter, you could say the conditions of a golf course are directly related to a golf course's budget or lack of maintenance staff, but that is not the case this winter. We have experienced golf courses that have a small staff and moderate budget maintain really good conditions by being prepared and taking precautions while others with a larger staff and healthy budget have struggled to maintain conditions. For example, we know of one golf course that sanded its greens in preparation for freezing temperatures to maintain heat in the soil. Those greens are still in championship quality at LaTour Golf Club. Some golf courses did nothing and those greens currently are almost completely dead with very little grass on them.

A good size maintenance staff and a very healthy budget can go a long way in maintaining quality conditions but it is not a necessity. A good superintendent can be all a golf course needs to make it through adverse weather and a quality playing surface. A combination of all of the above is a perfect recipe for a top-quality golf course. TPC Louisana is a great example of having it all.

The biggest struggle every golf course has had is dealing with poana on the greens. We experienced this at golf courses from New Orleans to Alexandria and everywhere in between. Some golf courses were able to defend against the poana taking over too much but sometimes all the prevention doesn't work. Every golf course had poana issues somewhere on the property. It seemed like the more tree-lined the golf course the fewer poana problems there were on the greens. Even golf courses that sprayed chemicals still had issues and now we all have to wait until the temperatures get warm enough to, essentially, burn the poana out of the ground.

From what we have witnessed so far this year we are in for some great golf conditions coming soon with warmer conditions at the majority of golf courses across southest Louisiana. There will be a few golf courses that will need some extra time or some minor renovations before we see them get back to their normal conditions.

Even though some golf courses may be struggling for a while we still need to go play there and support them. We can do our part to help out on the golf course by fixing ball marks and filling in divots with sand. Our support will go a long way in helping them recover from a very strange winter that was brutal for our southern turf.

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