Winter injuries on Golf Greens in the Nordic Countries: Survey of causes and economic consequences (Part II)


In 2015, NIBIO and NGF, with the support of STERF, ran a survey regarding winter damage on golf greens. The survey, which consisted of 24 questions, was distributed online, and included the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.  More than 300 golf courses participated.   

The results from the survey were analysed in two steps. The first article focused on course geography, size and age, grass species and extent of winter injuries (Kvalbein et al., 2016, 2017). It revealed that total costs of repair of winter-injured greens and fairways, together with lost revenue from players, in the Nordic countries amounted to at least €14 million. In a year with significant winter injuries, the average cost to repair the turf was between €3 000 and €12 000 on 88% of the courses. The revenue loss after a winter with considerable injuries was less than €6 000 on 50% of the courses, while 25% of the courses reported a loss between €6 000 and €12 000 (Kvalbein et al., 2016, 2017). The second article focused on management before winter: autumn fertilisation, fungicide applications and winter maintenance (Økland et al., 2018).  

The results showed that winter survival of golf greens can be improved and confirmed that the severity of snow mould infection can be reduced by continuing N-fertilisation at low and decreasing rates until growth stops and the greens freeze in late autumn. More research is needed on the effects of late K- and Fe-fertilisation before clear guidelines on this practice can be given. Use of only systemic or systemic and contact fungicides gave the same good control of snow mould infection. There was no overall effect of green topography on winter survival, but there were indications that lower areas may be more susceptible to ice and water damage and higher areas may be more susceptible to snow mould. Due to the low number of respondents who used protective covers in this survey, there was not enough information to conclude whether there is a benefit from using protective covers or not.  

There are still unanswered questions about the mechanical treatments of golf greens during winter and the respective beneficial effects. A field experiment could be carried out to explore these, in which the survival of greens with different combinations and separate treatments is compared within one location, thereby eliminating the variable of winter stress pressure. 

I 2015 ble det gjort en spørreundersøkelse om vinterskader på golfbanene. Mer enn 300 baner fra alle nordiske land svarte. Disse data gav god informasjon om hvilke typer vinterskader de hadde og hvilke faktorer som virker inn (Kvalbein et al., 2016). Fremdeles er 11 av de 24 spørsmåla ikke analysert. Det omfatter spørsmål om høstarbeid, bruk av fungicider og vinterdekke, mekanisk arbeid gjennom vinteren, slik som snøbrøyting og ishakking, og vårarbeid for å få banen i spill. Det gjenstår også å analysere de økonomiske konsekvensene av vinterskader i forhold til størrelse på banen og geografi. En oversikt over disse spørsmålene kan gi bedre beslutningsgrunnlag for fremtidig forskning på vinterskader.


Tatsiana Espevig

Tatsiana Espevig, Researcher (PhD), NIBIO - The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research,  Reddalsveien 215, 4886 Grimstad, Norway, Tel: +47 406 23 778. E-mail

Category: Overwintering
Status: Finished
Project period: 2017-2018

Fundings (kSEK)

  2017 2018 Total
STERF 18 48 66
Other sources 0 43 43
Total 18 91 109


  • To publish a final report from Survey 2015 about winter damage to Nordic golf courses
  • To analyse the remaining 11 questions (of 24) on common practices for preparing golf greens in autumn, including autumn fertilisation practices, use of fungicides, mechanical treatments, common winter work on golf greens including winter covers, snow and ice removal
  • To bring new information about the economic consequences of winter damage related to number of holes, grass species and geography.


Project participants

Tatsiana Espevig


Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy (NIBIO), Department for Urban Greening and Environmental Technology, Turfgrass Research Group, Landvik, Reddalsveien 215, 4886 Grimstad, Norway.

+47 406 23 778

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