Ultradwarf bermudagrass is the primary turfgrass used on golf course putting greens in the warmer regions of the United States. Improved varieties, including ‘Champion’, ‘MiniVerde’ and ‘TifEagle’ thrive in the heat of the summer and can provide a dense, consistent playing surface. However, one of the major weaknesses of the ultradwarf bermudagrasses is susceptibility to damage or death from cold temperature exposure.
The popularity of ultradwarf putting greens continues to expand farther north into the transition zone (Hartwiger, 2009). As these grasses have been planted in colder environments, moderate winter injury and even catastrophic loss of putting greens has been observed across the region (Richardson et al. 2014, Carolinas Golf Association 2018). When this occurs, it can put tremendous financial strain on a golf course as it may take weeks or even months to recover. Golfers and golf course superintendents in the Southeast and Central regions will remember devastating winters in 2014, 2018 and 2021 with varying degrees of turf loss occurring at many facilities. Proper management of ultradwarf putting greens is critical to preventing winter injury. Although winter injury can be associated with factors such as diseases, this article will focus on winter injury that results from either low -temperature exposure or desiccation and the best management practices for prevention.