Due to the condition of the grass before the storm cycle hit, the GC people were reluctant to allow grooming until the next storm cycle. However, the Course Superintendent allowed us to groom two loops (we typically groom four loops) on the condition that we modify the route slightly to minimize damage to the grass that has not yet gone dormant for winter. Those two loops were packed last night, which set up somewhat of a base, and they were tuned up this morning. The base is pretty soft, but it is skiable. The route modifications put the track over tall dry grass, roads and cart paths in more places than usual. Skate skiers have some risk of hitting a rock in places, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be when I started grooming last night.
The reason for requiring route modifications and limiting grooming to two loops during this first storm cycle has to do with protecting the grass. Grooming over large expanses of irrigated grass cannot be avoided on the two loops we did not groom. The route was selected so that it is largely over dormant grass that was not irrigated so as to minimize packing snow over grass that has not yet gone dormant. It is bad for the grass to pack the snow the grass is dormant because the cold penetrates the packed snow and partially kills the grass. The fluffy unpacked snow insulates the grass and keeps it from rapidly dying, thereby giving it a chance to go dormant under the snow or after the snow melts. Packed snow does not provide the necessary insulation to keep the cold from penetrating to the ground. When green grass gets damaged from cold in the fall, the grass stays yellow into May. The irrigated grass was green and wet on Tuesday, and the snow fell on Wednesday. Thus, the irrigated grass is still green under the snow.
Additionally, the snow came so suddenly they didn’t get a chance to fence off the greens between the time people were golfing on Tuesday and snow covered the GC on Wednesday. Consequently, the GC maintenance people will have to drive on the course and probably mess up portions of the track next week. Also, please avoid going off the groomed track during this storm cycle so the fluffy snow insulates and protects the green grass from the cold.