Overseeding? Overrated!

Here are three reasons why their enthusiasm for overseeding could not be more misplaced:

Great-weather Sabotage: In order to get your course’s fairways (and roughs, and tees, and greens, sometimes, depending on which area course you are) green for the snowbirds, you ought to conduct your overseeding in October. October happens to be the best time to play golf in the area: temperatures are moderate, humidity is down and golf courses are generally in the best shape of the year. Fairways tend to be firm and greens are generally smooth and fast. In order to get the rye grass to take over and become healthy, you have to water the absolute bejeezus out of your golf course, which means restricting carts to the paths for, usually, a full week. The dumbest way to get people to complain about your otherwise excellent golf course is to force them to play Cart Path Only golf on a perfect fall day, especially when you didn’t inform them what would be happening when they booked their round.

Soft Sucks: Remember that whole “water the absolute bejeezus out of your golf course” thing? Not only does it force carts onto the paths, it brings the amount of roll your drives will get down near zero. And for the players who come to Myrtle Beach who only hit the ball 200 yards in the air, that 15 to 20 yards of roll lost by overseeding makes a big difference in terms of pace of play and golfers’ enjoyment of the golf course.

The Green Phantom: There is a widely-held perception among golf course operators in warm-weather resort areas—hello, Myrtle Beach!—that contends that visiting golfers, many of whom travel from snow-covered home states or Canadian provinces, will turn right around and fly home if they step onto a golf course that isn’t blindingly, unnaturally green in the winter. This is just about the silliest thing ever. I grew up in one of those snow-covered places and even I know that dormant Bermuda is in many ways more fun to play on than summertime Bermuda. It can be quite firm and fast, allowing players to get a bunch of roll on their tee shots, as well as have the opportunity to play some bump-and-run shots around greens. On overseeded courses, the game becomes flop-and-splat. Yeah, sure, that’s loads of fun. The reality is that visitors might furrow their brows on the first tee of a non-overseeded golf course, but by the end of 18 fun holes—during which time they might well hit a career-long drive—they will be converted to the side of wisdom, that there is nothing wrong with a dormant Bermuda golf course in the winter.

Luckily, not every golf course in the Myrtle Beach area succumbs completely to the irrational insecurity that the world would end if they took a year—or forever, preferably—off from overseeding. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Plantation, the last couple years, have eschewed the unnecessary green look in favor of letting nature run their courses’ colors. A winter trip around True Blue is as close as Grand Strand golf can get to links conditions, with the ball running all over the bold contours of the fairways and greens. It is awesome. Perhaps those who oversee other area golf courses will take notice and get with the program. Here’s hoping!

Posted 8/26/13

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