Lessons Learned from Winter Painting of Fairways

By Patrick O’Brien and Chris Hartwiger, agronomists, Southeast Region
March 19, 2013

High above the Bowden golf course in Macon, Ga., the fairway painting program provides a unique and distinct look for winter golf.

As spring temperatures finally arrive in the southeast, now is a good time to look back at the emerging trend of fairway painting in winter as an alternative to overseeding. Numerous golf courses have used this technique to:

  • reduce inputs such as water, fertilizer, and fuel
  • save money compared to traditional overseeding
  • provide golfers with a green color they enjoy when bermudagrass on golf courses is dormant and brown. 

Below is a brief snapshot of lessons learned this past winter. 

  1. Fairway painting does make an impression on golfers.  While playing in the annual Cherry Blossom Four Ball tournament at Bowden Golf Course in Macon, GA, I was able to see how golfers marveled at the “green grass” that appeared after the superintendent painted the fairways. Bowden historically has not overseeded, but the enthusiastic reaction of the golfers and the increased number of entries this year affirms that there is another third option in the overseeding or no overseeding debate. 
  2. Painting fairways is a money saver compared to overseeding. Based on our experience, fairway painting can be done for about 70 to 80 percent less than overseeding. 
  3. The paint application works best if applied to wet turf. The paint adheres and coats the turf leaves and stems much better versus dry turf.
  4. Nozzles are vitally important to the success of the application. New dual nozzle technology exists that provides excellent coverage with one pass of the sprayer over the turf area.
  5. Painting the turf at the beginning of the winter season when the bermudagrass still has green leaf color works the best compared to waiting until the turf is totally brown and dormant. Less paint is needed overall including two to three follow-up treatments at 45 to 60 day intervals.

If anyone would like to learn more about painting fairways, more information is available from this recent article entitled, Instant Overseeding: Coming to a Fairway Near You. Also, a live webinar will be done soon on this topic. Stay tuned for more information on the time and date.

Source: Patrick O'Brien 770.229.8125 or patobrien@usga.org  and Chris Hartwiger 205.444.5079 or chartwiger@usga.org 

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, www.usopen.com, 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 http://www.usopen.com/IBM

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 http://www.lexus.com/

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 www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image