Ice On Greens

What you can do to minimize the damage

By Scottie Hines, CGCS

We’ve been dumped with a record amount of snow in the month of February. The grey of winter has got me down, and I’m ready to see the sun, leafy trees, and Kelly green grass beneath the mountain of snow. More specifically, the rolling, manicured golf course that so perfectly sets the mood to the first round of the new year!

But first, the grass must be healthy and green and there’s not much that can be done in the dead of winter, right?

Unfortunately, along with the polar vortex of -45°F temps this winter, came A LOT of ice, and you can’t just let that ice sit on your greens or it will likely damage them to some degree.

One way to prevent the innocent dying of greens is to allow the gasses that build up between the ice and the grass to escape, while at the same time still allowing the snow to act as a sort-of thermal blanket, keeping the grass warm and providing an ever-so thin layer of available water. It’s a balance that requires a dance of sorts between you, the grass, the snow, and the ice. One way to accomplish this is to spread Green Pro MinneGrow 5-5-0 on the ice. Wait, spread fertilizer on your greens in the winter? Yes. Green Pro MinneGrow Organic Fertilizer is high in organic nitrogen. As it collects solar energy and warms, it melts holes in the ice allowing gasses to escape, helping to give your turf a healthier start to the season. Bonus! It’s locally produced in Minnesota, so you can be sure they understand the eh-hem… challenges of our winter season.

So grab your hot cocoa (I won’t say anything if you add your favorite adult accompaniment) and get spreading. While you’re doing that, I’ll be booking my weekend to any place that has cactus as its state tree!

A 1993 graduate of Penn State University with a B.S. in Agronomy (Turfgrass) Scottie Hines has been working in the golf world in some manner for over 35 years. Having been at several top private golf clubs including Laurel Valley Golf Club, Oakmont Country Club, Baltusrol Golf Club and, most recently, Windsong Farm Golf Club. 

He was an assistant golf course superintendent for three U.S. Opens (’89 Senior, ’92 women’s and ’94 Open) and a superintendent for the 2000 U.S. Amateur.  

When not on the greens, you can find him at the local curling club, cheering his children on to victories while wearing his kilt. 

Scottie joined Tessman Company as in inside sales person in 2018.