Overseeding or Why Desert Golf is so $pendy

It’s autumn, and time to change the grass. Huh?

Golf courses in the desert use two kinds of grass. Bermuda in the summer, Rye in the winter. Why? Because each grass is finicky. Bermuda loves heat. The hotter the better. But when the days start getting shorter, the Bermuda turns brown and dies off, just like deciduous trees turn colors and drop their leaves. You can still play on it, but you wouldn’t enjoy it and golf courses couldn’t charge the ridiculous prices they do. So they put rye grass seeds down, and the rye grass will live until it heats up again.

This Bermuda is starting to turn brown. Look—some idiot did not sand his divot. Tsk.

But it doesn’t really die, it goes dormant. It’s sleeping under there. The gardeners have been busy taking up the dead Bermuda so they can lay down the rye. It’s like raking leaves. The lighter green areas will soon be lush green, and the moguls will turn golden brown.

Just look at all this dead grass! It’s stinky. We do get clouds. Rain, too.

This is what it will look like in about a month, when the course reopens for the season. It’s nice to hit from that lush green grass. The brown stuff, not so much. It’s scratchy like straw. The ball behaves unpredictably, and not in a good way.

In the spring, the Bermuda will wake up and everything will turn green, and the Rye grass will die forever. And, because they took out the dead stuff last fall, the fairways will be fresh, healthy, and not thick. You still want to stay away from those moguls, though.

As a golfer, I knew about overseeding because every golf course closes down for a month right about now, but I didn’t understand it completely until I lived here. So now you know, too.


  1. Some people here do their lawns with rye grass for the winter. Much more important for a gold course!


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