Overseeding: Planting the Seeds of Spectacular Winter Golf
By Jeff Locke
Mild winter temperatures draw visitors to the Valley of the Sun in droves. And thanks to the hard work of the golf course Agronomy team, a green blanket of ryegrass is waiting for them.
In the deserts of the Southwest, as well as other Southern regions, bermuda grass goes dormant as the night temperatures dip below 50 degrees. Almost overnight, the turf turns brown and to the uninformed eye, looks dead. But like the hard-to-kill horror movie villain, it comes back with a vengeance the next summer. In the meantime, it’s not a very appealing surface for golf.
To create ideal wintertime conditions, the crew mows the dormant grass as low as possible and plants ryegrass over the top of it – hence the name “overseed.” The process is quite labor intensive, and the investment is a big line item on the budget. But once the grow-in is complete and fairways are groomed and emerald green, it’s well worth the effort.
At Eagle Mountain, we tackle this chore in early October.
What to Expect
Upon reopening, the conditions are very good but green speeds tend to be a little slower than normal as the new turf becomes established. . . To protect the new surface, golf carts must stay in the rough areas for several weeks after reopening.
Good news is the rates following overseed are very reasonable. That goes for lodging throughout the Valley as well. And availability is usually open, essentially, until January when peak-season rates kick in and the number of visitors swells. Those who are not concerned about the cons listed above can find a ton of value during this timeframe. It’s also a great window of opportunity for those who typically play their rounds during the heat of the summer to get out for reasonable rates at reasonable temperatures.
Superior Surface, Spectacular Destination
Although it’s quite the undertaking to plant an entirely new playing surface each year, the process allows golfers worldwide to experience the game at its best in one of the most iconic golf destinations on the planet.