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      Rough Winter Leaves Neb. Golf Courses in Bad Shape for Spring

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      The putting green isn't quite sogreen for many Nebraska golf courses.

      Some golfers across the statehave already been out on the links this spring with the PGA Masters Tournamentmarking the unofficial start to the season. However, thanks to a rough winter,many of the state's courses are in far from ideal shape.

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

      The primary problem is dessication caused by dry conditions and winds. Dessication sucks moisture out of the turf and leaves itsusceptible 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 varyacross the state and even among courses in the same city.

      For example, courses that aresurrounded by trees or buildings might have been better protected from windthan courses out in the open.

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

      Many courses are overseeding now and hope for a mild spring to help seedgrow. Kreuser encouraged golfers to pay attention to course instructions and tostay off newly seeded areas as advised.

      More information is available at http://turf.unl.edu.

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