The state’s capital of Lincoln has seen less snow this winter than any year since levels started to be recorded, leading courses to start hand-watering greens and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to ban the use of golf carts until at least mid-March. “Basically we’re just trying to rehydrate the crown of the [grass] plant and keep it from dying due to freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw,” said Chad Giebelhaus, Superintendent of the Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln. “It’s a lot of work and something we don’t like to do, but you have to.”
While many regions of the country were dealing with relentlessly extreme winter weather, some golf courses in Nebraska were already having to water their greens in mid-February because of unusually dry conditions, KETV ABC 7 of Omaha reported.
“Basically we’re just trying to rehydrate the crown of the plant, which is the top the growing point,” Chad Giebelhaus, Superintendent at the Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, Neb., told KETV.
The extreme temperature swings and lack of moisture aren’t on par with what he is used to dealing with, Giebelhaus added.
“[We’re] trying to keep it from basically desiccating or dying, due to freeze-thaw. freeze-thaw, then cold and dry,” he explained. “Everything you wouldn’t want to happen.”
Crews at Lincoln Highlands were addressing the situation by placing big tanks of water on a trailer to manually water down each green, KETV reported.
“It’s just a lot of work, and something we don’t like to do, but you have to do it,” Giebelhaus said.
The situation grew dire enough that the Lincoln’s Parks and Recreation department announced that carts will be unavailable for use on city golf courses from February 27th through March 13th, due to the extremely dry turf conditions, KLIN News of Lincoln reported.
“”Early March is a critical period to protect the growth of grass prior to green-up in the spring, particularly for bentgrass,” said Golf Course Maintenance Coordinator Casey Crittenden. “Restricting golf cart use in early March is a simple preemptive measure to minimize possible turf damage that can be costly and time-consuming to repair.”
“Obviously that will reduce the number of golfers [but it] will [also] reduce the stress,” Crittenden added. “Golfers will still be welcome.”
The department’s maintenance staff is following a recommendation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to lightly irrigate when conditions are ideal, to rehydrate grass crowns and restore moisture levels, Crittenden noted.
According to the university’s latest Drought Monitor, all of Nebraska’s Lancaster County is now considered abnormally dry, with western parts of the county in a moderate drought.
The city of Lincoln has seen less than 4 inches of snow so far this winter, its lowest amount at this point in the season since at least the winter of 1948-1949, which is when the National Weather Service started recording data at the Lincoln Airport.
KETV’s video report can be viewed at https://www.ketv.com/article/warm-temps-and-little-moisture-have-golf-courses-watering-greens/39006483#