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Covers and Patience – Two Things Golf Courses Need Right, USGA Northeast Region Update

Published on 4/18/2022

Using covers can help you determine what is alive and well, versus what is damaged and slow to recover.

As soil temperatures continue to warm, the extent of winter injury is becoming more apparent. The contrast in color between healthy green turf and that which is damaged or completely dead has become quite stark on putting greens throughout the Northeast. Golf courses that deployed covers early have realized the full extent of damage for some time now and have already implemented recovery programs.

The use of permeable covers is not only important for early detection of winter injury, but also a valuable tool in helping to warm the soil and get a jump on turf recovery. Most well-equipped golf courses have some large covers available that can be used to cover an entire green or large tee surface. However, there are a surprising number of golf courses that do not have covers, which has left them scrambling to borrow them from generous neighbors. Covers have traveled all the way from Rhode Island to New York this spring. If there’s one thing to learn from this year, it is that every golf course should have a few covers on hand in the unfortunate event that it is a tough winter.

While the amount of golf courses still dealing with winter injury is sizeable, it has been nice to hear some reports of damaged putting greens making significant improvements after installing covers. A lot can happen in just seven days and areas that seemed to have no hope have, to the surprise of some seasoned superintendents, made considerable recovery. Don’t underestimate the power covers and patience can have on turf recovery. Keeping greens out of play a little bit longer could save you from having to sod as much as you might have originally thought necessary.

If you are continuing to struggle with winter injury at your golf course, please reach out to one of us listed below. We are just a quick phone call or email away and would be happy to assist during this frustrating time.

Northeast Region Agronomists:

Adam Moeller, director, Green Section Education –

Darin Bevard, senior director, Championship Agronomy –

Elliott L. Dowling, senior consulting agronomist –

John Daniels, agronomist –


(616) 834-0450