Robbing Peter To Pay Paul

By Bob Vavrek, senior agronomist, North-Central Region
May 28, 2014

Look no further than the first few feet of fairway turf in front of forward tees to find all the high-quality sod you need to repair localized areas of winterkill throughout the course. Bluegrass sod can then be used to quickly convert this narrow area of fairway to rough.

The sod needed to repair fairways damaged by winterkill can be in short supply following a brutal winter and amid a cool spring. Sod growers may not be able to harvest immature turf until early summer, and demand is high because other nearby courses with turf injury are under similar pressure to provide high-quality playing conditions as soon as possible. Even when sod is available, the improved cultivars of bentgrass will never match the patchwork of colors and textures found on mature bentgrass/Poa fairways.

Yet, every golf facility already has a readily available source of sod that is an exact match to their unique fairway turf, and it won’t cost a penny for shipping. Look no further than the first 10 feet or so of short grass off the forward set of tees to find all the turf you need to make fairway repairs. Use a sod cutter to harvest this turf, and then strip and resurface areas of winterkill that have been slow to recover.

You could level and seed the area you stripped, but most golf facilities simply use commercial sod to convert this few feet of fairway to rough. Bentgrass might be in short supply during spring, but you will likely find a variety of local options for decent-quality Kentucky bluegrass sod throughout the season. If available, big-roll sod would make quick work of repairs. Sure, you lost a few feet of fairway, but it won’t be missed.

In effect, you are robbing Peter to pay Paul…the results will likely be something a bit short of heavenly, but it still beats the heck out of playing off dead turf in a prime landing area all summer.

Source: Bob Vavrek (

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service  

Contact the Green Section Staff  

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image