I am a golf course superintendent in the Phoenix valley and have been working out here for 7 years now. A couple of things to note.
Seed prices are insanely high this year, double to be exact. Last year was around $1.10 and this year it is around $2.10. It will be that cost for next year also as they won't have an excessive amount to replenish with old crop from this year. Scotts getting into the commercial seed game really jacked up the costs. Clubs that usually spend around 50-60K on seed are having to double their forecasts. Many clubs are seeding way less this year acreage wise. I overseeded 58 acres last season, this year it is going to be 42. The real pain is Poa Trivialis seed costs. For people that overseed their greens that seed is going to be $5.12 a lb. Next year supposedely into the $6 range. Thankfully we only overseed 3-4 acres worth of that, but to spend close to 10K just on seeding greens is insane. If you have ultradwarf greens it seems stupid to still be overseeding your greens, BUT a ton of clubs still do it.
It shocks me how many clubs are just still going about their normal business. So many clubs had their best financial renevue years ever last winter, so it is hard for them to make drastic changes going forward. With seed costs going through the roof, water regulations really starting to go into effect for most clubs in 2025, you would think clubs start coming up with a plan over the next couple of years. Every club out here is afraid to be the one that tries not overseeding fairways, I am up for it, but GMs and management companies are worried of the complaints. Cart traffic is a big concern as the tee sheet is packed from December to March when the bermuda is not actively growing. Money that is usually spent on seed, fertilizer, water, etc needs to be reallocated into a great topdressing program to build up firm and healthly bermuda fairways that can handle cart traffic in the winter time.
Many guys are going to seed at 300-400 lbs/A rates this year and follow up with paints throughout the winter time. Paints have really upped their game lately and to be honest by January you can't even tell. This process also helps with transitioning back in the summer time to bermuda, as more and more clients stay during the summer and expect great conditions throughout the summer.
2025 is when the 5th water management plan goes into effect and this is when clubs really have to ratchet down. Most new clubs that have been built in the last 30 years have the proper turf acreage for the acre feet used. The older clubs that have excess of 100 acres of turf that were grandfathered in with water rights are the ones that are really going to feel it. Overseeding rough needs to stop immediately IMO, having grass all the way up to backyards needs to be replaced with landscape and DG. Grass in between tee boxes and fairways needs to be removed. We need to start adopting the australian method of importance. Greens, tees, fairways, and who cares what the rough looks like. You would be shocked though how many people freak out when they see a little brown area in the rough when it is 118 degrees out with zero humidity in June.
What we do out here in the desert is crazy, we go through this crazy overseeding process just for 2.5 months to appeal to the client during December 1st-February 15th. The amount of water, fertilizer, cultural practices, etc. that needs to go into overseeding and then transition just for 2.5 months when the bermuda go off color. The best time to play golf in the desert is Apr-May and Sept-Oct. Those are both the times we are at our worst usually cause we are switching grass, doesn't make sense.