As most people know, Bermuda grass is considered to be a "warm-season" turf. And while the Bermuda grass on the practice tee was bred and chosen for its tolerance to cold weather, the severe winter weather we experienced two years ago took its toll on both cool and warm-season grasses.
This past spring we re-sodded the back half of the lower practice tee with a newer variety of Bermuda, known as "Latitude 36" which was developed at Oklahoma State University, where the latitude is, yes, 36 degrees N. For reference, Laurel Creek is located at 40 degrees N, with typical winter temperatures just slightly below those at OSU.
This past week, we covered a good portion of the Bermuda grass on the lower tee to protect it from another potentially nasty winter. We will likely remove the cover in early March when the threat of severe weather has passed.
Whenever we incorporate a new practice into the management of the golf course, we try to leave untreated check plots. In this instance, by covering only a portion of the Bermuda grass, we can better evaluate the benefits of this, and see if it will be worth covering more of the tee in the future.
Given the taste of the Polar Vortex we received this past week, it looks like we may have gotten the cover down just in time.