Frost Delays Are A Part Of Golf

As I write this article, I am looking out my front window at my frost covered yard. Frost in the morning at this time of year is a known nuisance for anyone living in warmer climes. In years past, I was frustrated when I arrived at the course only to find that there was a frost delay of an hour or more. My lack of understanding of why courses delayed play did not help. After talking my friend Jeremy Sizer, the Superintendent at Roundel Glen at that time, I gained full understanding of why playing golf on a frost covered course is a very bad thing.

“For golf courses that are open all year long we sometimes run into a drop in the temperature overnight causing frost to form on the fairways and putting greens.  Some golf courses choose to continue regular play whereas some courses choose to implement a ‘Frost Delay” or play on Temporary Greens. When the golf course runs a frost delay this normally pushes back all the tee times until the ground has warmed up enough to melt the frost.  If frost on the course is ignored and regular play commences it will cause damage to the playing surface and makes the grass susceptible to disease and weeds.” (Morgan Creek Golf)

Frost is water vapor, or water in gas form, that becomes solid. Frost usually forms on objects like cars, windows, and plants that are outside in air that is saturated, or filled, with moisture. Areas that have a lot of fog often have heavy frosts.

Frost forms when an outside surface cools past the dew point. The dew point is the point where the air gets so cold, the water vapor in the atmosphere turns into liquid. This liquid freezes. If it gets cold enough, little bits of ice, or frost, form. The ice is arranged in the form of ice crystals.

Frost is most common in low-lying areas. Warm air rises, and cool air sinks—cool air is denser than warm air. That means there are usually more water molecules in cool air than in warm air. As cool air collects in valleys, frost forms.

Basically, playing golf on a frosty golf course causes untold damage. It is frustrating for many players who have a limit amount of time etched out of their busy schedule, but short term annoyance beats long term frustration. My recommendation is that amateurs pay close attention to the short term forecast and if there is a risk of frost, adjust your tee time.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s