Highlights From The 2019 USGA Winter Management Workshop March 1, 2019 By Patrick O'Brien, agronomist, Southeast Region

The 2019 USGA Turf Colorant and Winter Management Workshop included information from university research and practical experiences from superintendents. 

The 7th annual USGA Turf Colorant and Winter Management Workshop was again held at the Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, North Carolina on January 29, 2019. Approximately 100 superintendents attended this annual event which featured a great lineup of speakers including Dr. Steven Kammerer and Addison Barden of the USGA, John Jeffreys and Robert Vaughan of Pinehurst Resort, Jackson Clemons of Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, Nelson Caron of The Ford Planation, Paul Kaufmann of Prestwick Country Club, Jared Nemitz of The Peninsula Club, Steve Hamilton of The Dunes Club, and Michael Pierce of Kingsmill Resort.

The speakers discussed the art and science of applying turf colorants to warm-season fairways. Additionally, the latest information on winter stress mitigation and the use of turf covers on bermudagrass putting greens was discussed. Several workshop attendees were interviewed and shared what they felt were the best take-home messages for their golf course. Here is what they had to say:


Turf Colorants

  • Raising height of cut of fairways is critical to success. A higher height results in more leaf tissue for the paint to adhere to. Most superintendents raise the mowing height to 0.065 to 0.070-inch.
  • Applying tebuconazole to fairways for spring dead spot suppression prior to applying turf colorants has improved the results with turf colorants. The fungicide helps by preserving as much leaf tissue as possible.
  • The combination of overseeding and painting can be used in specific situations with acceptable results.
  • A 10-inch nozzle spacing provides better leaf coverage than a wider spacing. Setting up the spray boom at 14-inches above the ground will also improve the results of turf colorant applications.


Winter Putting Green Stress Mitigation

  • Dr. Steve Kammerer presented research that shows how plant growth regulators can be used to reduce winter stress.
  • Applying trinexapac-ethyl at low rates increases turf health throughout winter.


Turf Covers

  • Covers help protect the turf from cold temperatures. However, the microclimate between the cover and turf is also important. Creating a small cushion between the cover and the turf provides extra protection during extremely low temperatures.
  • Using a section of eight-inch drainage pipe for the final roll-up of covers makes it easier to move and store them. 


On attendee said about this USGA Workshop “I look forward to this meeting every year because it brings together practical information from superintendents and the latest research from universities. There is something to learn from everyone.”  

Those who attended the workshop went home with valuable information and a network of contacts that can help answer additional questions about these winter management topics. Please contact a USGA Agronomist for more information on turf colorant applications or information regarding next year’s workshop.


Southeast Region Agronomists:

Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service –

Steve Kammerer, regional director –

Patrick M. O’Brien, agronomist –

Addison Barden, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

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