Rule of the Week
October 15th, 2015
Frost Damage
Frost Damage

Welcome to the third full week of Autumn golf.  The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are usually cooler in the morning including below zero degrees. 

There are a number of golf courses in Saskatchewan who have already put their courses to bed for the winter however there are some who are still operating. 
Here are some points to consider:
  1. Frost and Frost Delays
  2. Dew
If your clubs is still open on October 15th or later, please respect the grounds crews decision on when it is ok to play.  Especially if there is frost.  A frost delay does impact the time you will be at the golf course however, if you rush out to play, you can do a lot of damage to the golf course surfaces for the remainder of the year and well into next year.  Please see some excerpts from an article presented by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). 

When frost is present golf course superintendents delay play until the frost has melted. This is done to prevent damage that affects the quality of the playing surface and could potentially be very expensive to repair.

Frost is basically frozen dew that has crystallized on the grass, making it hard and brittle. A grass blade is actually 90 percent water, therefore it also freezes. Because of the short mowing height (sometimes as low as 1/8 inch) and fragile nature of the turf, putting greens are most affected by frost.

Walking on frost-covered greens causes the plant to break and cell walls to rupture, thereby losing its ability to function normally. When the membrane is broken, much like an egg, it cannot be put back together.

Golfers who ignore frost delays will not see immediate damage. The proof generally comes 48-72 hours later as the plant leaves turn brown and die. The result is a thinning of the putting surface and a weakening of the plant. The greens in turn become more susceptible to disease and weeds. While it may not appear to be much of an issue if a foursome begins play early on frost-covered greens, consider the number of footprints that may occur on any given hole by one person is approximately 60. Multiply that by 18 holes with an average of 200 rounds per day and the result is 216,000 footprints on greens in a day or 6,480,000 in a month.

As golf enthusiasts superintendents do not like to delay play, but they are more concerned about turf damage and the quality if conditions for the golfer. Frost also creates a hardship on a golf facility's staff as all course preparations are put to a halt until thawing occurs. Golf carts can cause considerable damage, therefore personnel cannot maneuver around the course to mow, change cup positions, collect range balls, etc. 
(To see the full article - )

Rule 13-2  Removing Dew

Q. I like to play early in the morning. Usually there is still dew on the ground during the first few holes. Is it permissible to sweep away the dew or mop it up with a towel around my ball?
A. Generally, improving the lie of the ball, the line of play, or the area of intended stance or swing by removing dew is a breach of Rule 13-2 (the penalty for which is loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play). -- In short, the answer is No other than on the teeing ground of the hole being played.   

However, dew, frost or water may be removed from the teeing ground.

Happy golfing and remember the Rules of Golf Matter.

About Golf Saskatchewan
As the governing body of amateur golf in Saskatchewan, our mission is to grow participation in, and passion for golf while upholding the integrity of the game.


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510 Cynthia St
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7L 7K7
Golf Saskatchewan
(306) 975-0850

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