In the spring and fall of the year in Northeast Wisconsin, frost early in the morning is a common phenomenon. Golfers are oftentimes delayed from playing due to frost. Delays are very inconvenient for the golfer, but it is important for the health of the golf course to respect these delays.
Why is it important for the superintendent to suspend play until the frost is gone?
Grass plants are made up of mostly water, this water turns into very fragile crystals of ice. Simply walking on turf with frost can cause damage, particularly on a green where the height of cut is around 1/8". Walking on a grass plant with frost is like breaking glass or cracking an egg.
Why not just throw the sprinklers on to get rid of the frost?
This method can work however many factors must be considered before turning on overhead irrigation. What is the air temperature? . . . What is the soil temperature? . . . What temperature is the irrigation water? . . . How heavy is the frost that is covering the grass? I have seen where turning on overhead irrigation cause more frost and in turn makes the delay much longer !!
As a maintenance staff we try to keep the proshop as informed as possible regarding the length of the delay. Keep in mind this is only a guess, and hourly updates usually keep the membership/proshop up to date as to the length of the delay. Usually foretees has the frost delay on it so people who are at home are aware that there tee time may be moved back till they get the "all clear."
Thank you and your cooperation in adhering to these policies is greatly appreciated !!
Here is a informational link to frost delays: