Freeze/thaw cycles pose challenge to Atlantic golf course superintendents

Mike Jiggens
March 15, 2017
By
Paul MacCormack, superintendent,  Fox Meadow Golf Course
Paul MacCormack, superintendent, Fox Meadow Golf Course
Winter seasons in Atlantic Canada used to be predictable. Snow would arrive in the latter half of December and would remain until March when it would melt with rising spring temperatures.

That hasn’t been the case in recent years.

Changing cycles of snow, rain, freezing rain and fluctuating temperatures have posed a challenge to golf course superintendents who traditionally start to prepare their courses for spring during the late stages of winter.

Paul MacCormack, superintendent at Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, P.E.I., told CBC News that the unpredictable winter conditions have forced him to pay closer attention to what is happening under the snow cover. He said he must be especially mindful of ice that can form during periods of thaw and refreezing. Crown damage can occur and possible death to the plant.

Blowing snow from greens is often a guessing game.

He said in past years, the tendency was to not worry about the winter weather because it was so consistent.

In spite of the closer attention MacCormack finds he’s paying to his course, he said he is optimistic conditions will return to normal once the course is ready for play in May.

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