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To overseed or not overseed, that is the question

Updated September 20, 2017 - 1:36 pm

Southern Nevada Golf Course Superintendents Association president Dale Hahn is also the superintendent at the private TPC Summerlin, the host course of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He is a perfect person to talk to about the confounding overseeding process that occurs at many area courses around this time each year.

“I guarantee there isn’t a Las Vegas general manager or superintendent who hasn’t asked themselves the question, ‘to overseed or not overseed,’” Hahn said. “Overseeding is a way for a superintendent to provide quality playing conditions in the winter months for golf courses that have Bermuda grass. Bermuda is a warm weather grass that goes dormant when the first frost hits, which in Las Vegas is usually between Thanksgiving and early December.

“When it goes dormant, the grass doesn’t have the ability to recover from foot and cart traffic or divots. What superintendents choose to do is apply a winter grass over the Bermuda and it serves two purposes: it protects the Bermuda and provides much better playing conditions in the winter.”

Overseeding is expensive for golf course owners and exasperating for golfers, who stand by and watch as courses are closed during prime golf season. The decision whether to overseed comes down to what is important to course management.

A course will be brown from December through February if not overseeded, but will remain open during perfect weather. While a course may not be aesthetically pleasing, hard and fast course conditions—which low handicappers enjoy—are playable.

Excellent course conditions during the late fall and winter is a benefit of overseeding. It also helps cure general course wear and tear.

“It is worth the wait for golfers if a course is being overseeded,” Hahn said.

Hahn only overseeds the tee boxes at TPC Summerlin, but said it is easier for a private course to get away with not overseeding because management can communicate to a captive group of members why the course is brown. That isn’t always the case for public courses where surprised golfers can get upset by brown conditions.

An alternative to overseeding becoming more popular is painting the fairways green. Hahn has painted TPC Summerlin for four years and believes it provides a better playing experience than dormant brown, but if golfers expect the perfect conditions of an overseeded course they might be upset with painted conditions.

My take? Keep the course open and let me hit my drives 20 yards farther on dormant fairways.

Note: Courses not overseeded include Las Vegas Paiute (rye grass so always remains green), Desert Pines and Royal Links.

Rebel golf’s new president

Tom Jingoli, senior vice president for Konami Gaming, is the new UNLV men’s golf foundation president. Jingoli took over for longtime president and attorney Dan Albregts. Other officers are Ken Gardner, vice president; Alan Duncan, treasurer; and George Balaban, secretary.

Foundation membership is open to the public with a fee and includes an invitation to play in Rebel Golf Day on Nov. 13 at Las Vegas Country Club. Information is at UNLVMensGolf.com.

Tour pros on the move

— LPGA Tour player Allison Lee is moving to Las Vegas. She played college golf at UCLA and grew up in Santa Clarita, California.

— PGA Tour player Aaron Wise has left Las Vegas for Arizona. Wise moved here shortly after winning the 2016 NCAA individual men’s title while playing for the University of Oregon.

— Recent Stanford graduate Maverick McNealy is moving to Las Vegas. McNealy also received a sponsor exemption for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Deal of the week

Las Vegas Golf Center is the new name of what was formerly TaylorMade Golf Experience. The facility features nine lighted holes and range, pro shop and bar and grill. As part of the change, golf club fittings are free. Brands available include Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Mizuno and Titleist.

Stars on, off course

Ellen Degeneres filmed a show segment at Topgolf Las Vegas.

The golf notebook appears each Thursday. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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