WHY ARE THERE ROPES AROUND FEATURES ON THE GOLF COURSE?
Fragile non native grasses are easily killed by snow compaction above the grass. Tee boxes and golf greens are typically sensitive areas of the golf course with fragile non native grasses. Usually skiers go under ropes onto the grasses of tee boxes and greens because there are hills surrounding them. There are many other hills around Shaganappi that skiers can go on where the grasses are less likely to be killed.
HOW CAN THE FRAGILE GRASSES ON GOLF COURSES BE KILLED DURING THE WINTERTIME; AREN'T THEY DORMANT?
Compacted snow above fragile grasses prevents gases formed from natural decomposition during the winter from escaping up through the snowpack. The decomposition gases then concentrate along the surface of the grass, and kill the grass over time. If the public continues to go on roped off areas in the winter causing damage to the golf course grasses, the golf course may be permanently closed to the public in the winter, as repairing and replacing the dead grass in the spring is expensive.
WHEN WILL THE GOLF COURSE OPEN FOR SKIING?
Grooming and track setting for cross country skiing at Shaganappi will begin in December. Shaganappi Point golf course and Confederation Park golf courses have two different microclimates. Shaganappi has significantly more year-round sun and wind exposure compared to the Confederation golf course, resulting in different season opening times. If the snow above the turf at Shaganappi is machine compacted for skiing in November, freeze/thaw cycles of November Chinooks create an ice layer that remains in place all winter preventing air exchange within the snowpack, which kills the turf underneath. Turf death in the spring directly equates to lower visitor numbers and revenue loss at golf courses, as golfers in general prefer to play at golf courses that are in pristine condition.
Golf course summer staff must put the golf course to bed once the golf course is closed to the public which involves:
Preparing the grass surfaces for the winter
Putting expensive, specialized tarps on all 27 greens
Roping off greens by manually installing temporary fencing
After golf course staff are done putting the golf course to bed, we need:
Unfrozen ground for SNO volunteers to install metal snow stakes and string rope fencing around tee boxes near ski trails for all 27 holes of the golf course to keep the public off these areas all winter to prevent permanent turf damage. If the ground freezes, this significantly increases the manual work and volunteer time that will be required to install the metal snow stakes.
At least 15 cm of snow on the ground at one time is needed to pack down as an initial base to work with. Typically, our machinery requires approximately 15 cm of snow as an initial amount to avoid permanently damaging fragile golf course turf.
Consistent cold temperatures, and a long range forecast of consistent cold temperatures. Grooming snow that will melt away completely in the next Chinook is a waste of volunteer time and also pollutes the environment unnecessarily.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Volunteer for SNO, as all winter operations support are done by volunteers.
Donate money to help pay for operational expenses such as gasoline for the machinery pulling the grooming equipment, equipment maintenance, etc.
Donate gift cards/swag to give to our hard working volunteers as a thank you!