There are not many things that can upset a Las Vegas golfer more around this time of year (Nov. – Feb.) than a dreaded frost delay. But here’s a scoop: golf course owners, executives, pros and superintendents hate frost delays as much—or more–than you do. –By Brian Hurlburt, Founder
According to Frank Olopoulos, Red Rock Country Club superintendent, the sole reason for a frost delay is to protect a course’s conditioning because there isn’t anything much worse than can happen to a layout than when fragile grass has frost and then walked on or driven on with golf carts.
If that happens, grass is destroyed and the damage will be long-lasting. Nobody wants that.
“What happens when there is frost is that the leaf blade crystallizes and when you walk on it or drive on it, the leaf breaks and cracks,” Olopoulos says. “The grass is actually protected when it’s frozen and you can walk on frozen ground and it doesn’t do anything. However, when it is frosty, you will leave footsteps or tire tracks that will turn brown and die. As the winter goes on and it gets colder and colder, those areas never heal up.”
Now is the time to check out Siena Golf Club and make your Las Vegas Tee Times for the course.
Olopoulos speaks for his fellow Red Rock, Siena and Arroyo superintendents and course staff—and the entire golf industry—when he adamantly states that there is no conspiracy theories when it comes to frost delays.
“A course superintendent is not calling for a frost delay to upset everybody and we are not doing it to be jerks or to clog the tee sheet up on purpose,” Olopoulos says. “We are doing it because we are putting the golf course first. Anybody who appreciates a well-manicured and well-groomed golf course can appreciate the superintendent putting the golf course first versus anything else. We ask you trust the superintendent and show some respect when this difficult decision is made.”
Most of us have been a part of a frost delay, and pretty much anytime it occurs, somebody will make a wise crack about the superintendent just making the whole thing up. What makes these situations worse is that frost can occur at some courses even when temperatures seem to be well-above what would create frost.
For example, at Red Rock and Arroyo in Las Vegas, frost can occur from anywhere between 34 and 46 degrees. This is because there are micro-climates or shaded areas in different parts of the course that need time to warm up.
To make a frost delay situation a little more enjoyable, Arroyo, Siena and the private Red Rock each have installed high-end practice turf and golfers can practice while waiting for the tee sheet to open. That isn’t always the case, so it is a nice touch.
It’s always a good time to play Arroyo, so make your Arroyo Golf Club tee times today
Olopoulos has the final word on the infuriating frost delay:
“All it takes to avoid damage to the course and killing the grass is to stay off the turf for 60 or 90 minutes in the morning until the frost breaks.”
And, remember, the course staff hates a frost delay as much as you do, maybe even more.
So, let’s all work together to make the situation a little more tolerable for all involved.