The Importance of Frost Delays at Golf Courses

Spring mornings often bring frost, which results in delayed openings and sometimes even closures of golf courses. This spring was the earliest opening of the Fargo Park District’s five public golf courses since 2012 and it’s why we’ve seen delayed openings and course closures. Read the 5 facts below on the importance of frost delays at golf courses. 

1- Frost makes grass vulnerable. 

Frost is a frozen dew that crystallizes on grass, making it hard and brittle. This “crunchy” grass becomes easy to damage because as it is walked on or driven over the plant cells can rupture, resulting in dead grass and uneven playing surfaces. 

2- Damage is not immediately visible. 

Damage caused by walking or driving over frost-covered grass is typically visible within 48-72 hours. Footprints begin to appear and the grass in those areas turns brown and dies. It often takes months for the grass to recover. 

3- Greens have a higher risk of damage. 

Due to the shortness of grass length, closely mown areas are at the highest risk of damage. This is why golf courses must wait until putting greens are thawed to begin play. Putting greens are also more vulnerable because of the high rate of foot traffic in smaller areas. 

4- No frost on Hole #1 does not mean time to play. 

For a course to reopen, frost must be completely melted from all the holes in early rounds of play. If there is frost on just one hole, the course remains closed. Once frost has melted, it is important to remember that the maintenance teams need at least 30 minutes to catch up before play begins. 

5- Location is highly important. 

North-facing slopes, low-lying areas and areas sheltered from the wind are most likely to be covered in frost.  Frost also takes the longest to melt in shady areas. Something as simple as a cloudy sky or a few trees can keep an entire course closed. Therefore, opening times may vary for the Fargo Park District’s five public golf courses. Each of these courses are different and are spread out across Fargo, with 14 miles separating the furthest two. 

Learn more about frost delays. 

For the latest course updates, follow the golf courses on Facebook. For questions, call the golf courses: Edgewood at 701-232-2824, El Zagal at 701-232-8156, Osgood at 701-356-3070, Prairiewood at 701-232-1445 and Rose Creek at 701-235-5100.