Friday, May 08, 2015

Golf Terminology: Understanding Overseeding

In a previous or recent golf trip you might encounter courses that are closed or offer green fees because of the disruption caused by overseeding. This might have you wondering, what exactly is overseeding?

Overseeding refers to the maintenance on golf courses, wherein grass seeds are spread on top of the existing grass to promote new growth or to swap out seasonal turfs, replacing one type of grass with another.

Usually this is commonly done on courses that are made up of Bermuda grass, which goes dormant during winter months. In the fall, Bermuda grass is overseeded with ryegrass seed. In spring, the process is reversed. Ryegrass is overseeded with Bermuda grass, thus switching the course's turf back.

This process is considered one of the manifestations of modern golf course care, and most customers really prefer to have their golf vacation on green courses. This is one of the reasons why overseeding is performed in order to prevent the browning of Bermuda grass, and maintaining the greenness of the course throughout the year. This process is evidently used by courses in the Southwest to cater to the need of golf enthusiasts from the north.

However, there have been issues raised along the way, such as its impact on play, costs, water usage and chemical removal of the ryegrass because of its tendency to hang on too long in the Southwest.

For those who choose not to overseed, they are faced with variety challenges. Without overseeding, turf conditions are not improved during the winter. Courses face compaction due to the player and golf cart traffic.

However, they have their reasons for not overseeding. First, they can conserve water since dormant Bermuda grass uses far less water than overseeded ryegrass. Second, plays in the fall are uninterrupted since they do not have to overseed. Third, it is easier to control weed on dormant bermudagrass. Fourth, they sustain a stronger strand of warm season grasses. Lastly, the cost of maintaining it is lower compared to courses that undergone overseeding.

Nonetheless, golfers complain for the lack of green color of dormant Bermuda grass; worn areas, especially high traffic zones; and slow recovery from divot damage.

So which golf course do you think will give you the best golf trip experience:  Overseeded courses, or those that rely on older methods? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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