March Roars Out Like A Lion

By David A. Oatis, director, Northeast Region
March 31, 2011

A recent cold spell and snowstorms in various parts of the Northeast have people thinking anything but spring.  Nonetheless, golfers are waiting with eager anticipation for the grass to begin growing and for the greens to be opened.  Unfortunately, plenty of golfers now are learning that their greens will not be open and that winter injury is the cause.  Although some courses have suffered extensive damage, and may be considering regrassing, plenty of other courses experienced damage in isolated areas.  In some of these areas, the annual bluegrass does not appear to have been killed outright.  Green shoots are now appearing in plenty of affected areas, thereby promising faster recovery.

The bottom line - winter injury is usually difficult to predict and often impossible to prevent.  Recovery time can be equally difficult to predict.  Keep in mind that opening your greens too soon will slow the recovery dramatically, and will promote annual bluegrass at the expense of potential gains in creeping bentgrass.  If there is a silver lining in the winter injury cloud, it is that it almost always translates to increased bentgrass populations. 

Now for some more “good” news:  adult annual bluegrass weevils (ABW) already are being picked up in pitfall traps at one course in southern Connecticut.  With luck, you have already taken the time to install pitfall traps to detect their presence earlier, but if not, do so without delay.  Based on research and observation, the emergence window of ABW seems to be much wider now than once thought, and missing some of the earlier emerging adults would explain why control measures applied later have not worked as well as superintendents would have liked.  Even though it is early April and still quite chilly, begin monitoring immediately if you have not done so, as this may help avoid some unwelcome surprises later this spring.

We already have made a number of visits this spring, helping courses to assess the extent of their winter damage and to help develop a plan of action for recovery.  If we can help you in this or any other way, give us a call.  Also note that for the first time, GCSAA Education Points are now available for Turf Advisory Service visits.

The early season payment discount for 2011 Turf Advisory Service visits of May 15 is approaching.  Significant savings can be had by paying for visits before May 15, regardless of when they are actually made.

Source:  Northeast Region Green Section- Dave Oatis, Director; Adam Moeller, Agronomist Jim Skorulski, Senior Agronomist 


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