On a Tuesday in January 2018, the overnight low temperature in Pinehurst was 9 degrees.
On the following Wednesday evening, our nine golf courses, including Pinehurst No. 2, were greeted with six inches of wispy, fluffy snow.
Now, while both weather events are highly unusual and rare for us – the average temperature in Pinehurst in January is a very playable 45 degrees – it begs a question the golfer may be interested in – especially the golfer who is considering a trip to Pinehurst in 2018:
Which weather event – the 9 degree temperature or the half-foot of snow – do you think is markedly better for your golf course?
The answer might surprise you.
“Oh, it’s definitely the snow,” says No. 2 Superintendent John Jeffreys. “Our friends in golf course maintenance in the Midwest and the far west are begging for this kind of snow.”
While our executives and marketing team may not necessarily want to hear that – to say nothing of golfers who delight in our grand game – a few days under a soft blanket of snow is not just a good thing for a golf course, it’s a great thing.
“This fluffy snow is the best kind because of its ability to insulate the ground underneath,” Jeffreys says. “The ground temperature is able to retain much of its heat. It’s not dropping any more. Now it’s completely protected from, say, a 12-degree air temperature, or any of the wind.”
So, what exactly does that mean for our golf courses?
It could mean even better conditions for early Spring.
“Very cold, dry air is bad for a golf course,” Jeffreys says. “That leads to winterkill.”