Frost occurs when the water inside of a plants leaf freezes due to cold temperatures. This freezing causes jagged crystals to form and remain until temperatures warm enough to unfreeze the turf. Turf damage will occur if equipment drives across or anyone walks across the surface while frost is present. Blackened tire tracks and footprints are visual signs that the turf has been damaged due to the crystals inside the leaf rupturing the plant. Frost damage is permanent and requires replacement or reseeding to repair.
Operators of facilities in desert climates must be extremely knowledgeable about frost in order to maximize revenues while protecting the delicate turf during the winter months. Those of you familiar with Indian Wells Golf Resort know that our golf courses sit lower in elevation to most of the surrounding area. The lower elevation makes our facility more susceptible to frost due to the cold air settling during the night and early morning. Unfortunately there is no way to accurately predict frost due to the weather factors that cause it. During the 2008 winter our facility experienced 40 out of 60 days with frost delays. The 2009 winter only brought 5 days of frost.
Factors that will deter the formation of frost are wind and cloud cover. Wind will keep the air masses moving keeping the cool air from settling. Cloud cover will keep warm air from escaping into the atmosphere maintaining higher night temperatures.
Hopefully we will have a warm season keeping all of our guests on schedule and golf courses in excellent condition.
PGA Head Golf Professional
Indian Wells Golf Resort