Covering Greens – How To and Why

Ever wonder what the benefits are of covering a green for the cold winter months and how to do it? Well, we talked with Osgood Public Golf Course’s Superintendent, Victor Heitkamp and he broke down the process and benefits for us.

How do you cover the greens?

  1. When covering the greens, be aware of the wind speed. Ideal wind speed is 5 mph or under, 5-10 mph is still manageable but when it reaches 15 mph or over safety becomes an issue. Imagine a sail on a sail boat, that’s what you get when trying to put covers down in the wind, a 8,000 square foot sail, and when the winds are blowing over 15 mpg they are very hard to handle and teammates safety becomes a concern.
  2. The actual process of putting the cover on the green is fairly simple with the right number of people. You start by unrolling the cover over the green and spread the cover over as much of the green surface as the cover will allow.
  3. Once the cover is in position, a few of the team members will continue to hold the cover in place while a few others will strategically work to staple the outer edge of the cover with six inch landscape stables to hold the cover in place.
  4. Another row of staples will be placed on the sewn seams of the covers to further secure the cover.

What are the benefits?

  1. There are two huge benefits to utilizing green covers. The first is to protect the greens from the cold, harsh winters we are prone to having in North Dakota. Osgood Public Golf Course is more open and has very little protection compared to Edgewood and Rose Creek Public Golf Courses.
  2. Due to windy conditions, the course is unable to maintain adequate snow cover on the greens, which help protect the turf over the winter. The green cover adds a layer of protection for the turf and thus decreases damage from the winter elements. It also protects the greens from extreme wind dryness and sun scald.
  3. The second benefit is the cover acts like a greenhouse as the temperatures start to warm during the spring and snow begins to melt. The covers help draw the frost of the greens quicker and helps allow soil temperatures to rise to a temperature where the grass will start to grow.
  4. Proper timing of pulling the covers off the greens will give a course mid-May quality greens.

Osgood Public Golf Course would like to thank all 18 team members who helped in the process of covering the greens this past fall. Due to low wind conditions and hard work, we were able to cover all 14 greens in four hours!