Courses & TravelOctober 19, 2009

Overseeding In Arizona

From Scott Ray of Highlands Ranch, Colo.: I'm heading to Scottsdale mid-October and I'm running into overseeding season. Within a week of overseeding, is the course going to be playable?  Will the greens be decent?

I asked our resident expert on all things related to golf courses, Ron Whitten, to answer this one. Here's Ron's response:

Matt, It will depend upon the manner of overseeding and the maintenance program. A few clubs broadcast seed, others punch tiny holes into the ground and deposit the seed while others use seeders that carve tiny rows down fairways. The latter, of course, is a bit more disruptive to the turf, but in any case, players could treat bad lies as ground under repair. The bigger problem is with watering schedules. You try to get your seed in the ground and germinating within 10 days. Usually the normal irrigation schedule can suffice, but some clubs may tend to lightly water several times a day to ensure that new seed will actually sprout. Which means wetter conditions, sometimes, or waiting for short irrigation cycles to shut off.

Overseeding shouldn't be a deterrent, but golfers should expect slight inconveniences in some cases. I wouldn't tell anyone to stay away a week after overseeding. A day after overseeding, maybe . . . but a week? No. Play on. Whitten

Scott, I'd be curious to hear about any problems you run into in Arizona, and whether or not any of the courses give you a break on the green fee for an overseeding inconvenience. It's one of my pet peeves--a golf course that gives you an inferior experience (overseeding, punched greens, damaged fairways of some sort) and doesn't give a break on how much they charge when conditions are perfect. That's like a middle seat on any plane, it should cost less than an aisle or a window.

Do you have a question or a dilemma relating to golf and/or travel? Send it to me.

--Matty G.

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