Winter Leaves Many Nebraska Golf Courses in Bad Shape

LINCOLN, Neb. - Some Nebraska golfers already have been out on the links this spring, and this weekend's PGA Masters Tournament marks the unofficial beginning of the season, but thanks to a rough winter, many of the state's courses are in far from ideal shape.

"It's really bad out there," said University of Nebraska-Lincoln turf specialist Bill Kreuser.

The primary problem is dessication caused by dry conditions and winds, he said. Dessication sucks moisture out of the turf and leaves it susceptible to winterkill. Irrigation systems are shut down during the winter, and occasional bouts of mild weather allowed golfers to play during the season, damaging turf further.

Kreuser said conditions vary across the state and even among courses in the same city. For example, courses that are surrounded by trees or buildings might have been better protected from wind than courses out in the open.

The good news is most of the damage is to the fairway, not the greens, but "a lot of the tee boxes are in really, really rough shape," Kreuser said.

Many courses are overseeding now and hoping for a mild spring to help seed grow. Kreuser encouraged golfers to pay attention to course instructions and to stay off newly seeded areas as advised.

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