Overseeding – Planting the Seeds of Spectacular Winter Golf

Mild winter temperatures draw visitors to the Valley of the Sun in droves. And thanks to the hard work of the golf course superintendent and his maintenance team, a green blanket of ryegrass will be waiting for them.

In the deserts of the Southwest, as well as other Southern regions, bermudagrass goes dormant as the nighttime 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.

Overseed Process

To create ideal wintertime conditions, the crew scalps the dormant grass down and drops 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 (7-10 days for the seed to pop) and fairways are groomed in a big-league-style checkerboard pattern, it’s well worth the effort.

Overseed Schedule

At ASU Karsten Golf Course, we tackle this chore in early October.

What to Expect

Upon reopening, the course’s watering schedule is ramped up to establish the new ryegrass turf. As a result, it’s a good idea to play a tee box forward to compensate for the lack of roll due to the soft conditions. To protect the baby blades, golf cars must stay on paths for several weeks after reopening.

Post-Overseed Value

Good news is the rates following overseed are very reasonable. That goes for lodging at across the Greater Phoenix area as well. And availability is usually open, essentially, until January when peak-season rates kick in and the number of visitors swell. Those who are not concerned about a little more walking when playing 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 entirely new playing surfaces 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.

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