Vermont's Golf Course Permitting Program
The Golf Course Permit Program was initiated in the summer of 1991 due to regulations implemented in the fall of 1990. This program reviews the use of pesticides on Vermont's golf courses for potential impacts on ground water, surface water, the public, and environmentally sensitive areas.
No person shall use any pesticide on a golf course without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary of Agriculture as provided in Section IV 9 of The Vermont Regulations for Control of Pesticides. The permitting program requires golf courses to submit an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan and site information which describes their use of pesticides, pests controlled, methods to reduce pesticide use, historical pest problems, buffer zones and justification for use of pesticides which may be mobile in the environment.
Proposed updates to the pesticide regulations in 2017 add a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP), mandatory soil testing of areas to receive fertilizer, require that fertilizer applications be based upon soil test results and University recommendations, and additional fertilizer record keeping and reporting requirements.
Questions about Vermont Golf Course Permits should be directed to
Matthew Wood, Golf Course Permit Coordinator
Changes to the Permit Process
For 2018, the process for permitting golf courses will change, though the actual permits will not change all that much. Older golf course permits do not have an expiration date, but starting in 2018, permits will be issued annually and will expire at the end of each year. Pesticide active ingredients that are currently approved for use on a course will remain approved, and do not need to be re-applied for.
Each Fall, Vermont golf courses will need to report their fertilizer and pesticide use, and sign the renewal form, to renew their permit for the following year. The pest control products and amounts currently on the permit will NOT need to be re-applied for, but if you would like to add a new active ingredient, or try increasing the amount of a currently permitted active ingredient, then the “Vermont Golf Course Dilution Worksheet” below should be used to request that (see Pesticide Information below).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How many soil tests do I need to do?
A: You only need soil sample results from areas of the course that will receive fertilizer, so for example, if you don’t fertilize fairways, then you are not required to soil test those.
Samples should be representative, so if all of your greens were made the same way and managed the same, then you could sample from some of those and combine into one sample. But if you have some greens that are “push up” native soil and others are sand based, then combine soil from samples of the similar greens to make a representative sample of each type. One combined sample from a few sand based ones and another combined sample from a few of the push-up greens. Same for tees and fairways. You, the superintendent, would know best which ones are similar in soil and management and therefore can be combined into one sample, but you should explain this in your nutrient management plan write-up. Basically, explain your reasoning for what you feel is ok to combine.
The requirement is that soil test results be no more than 3 years old, so as long as you do it every 2-3 years, then you will always have recent soil test results to base your fertilizer use on.
Q: Do I need to use UVM soil testing lab?
A: No, we do not require that you use the UVM Ag. testing lab for your soil testing, but the nice thing about using UVM is you will get the Vermont-specific golf course turf fertilizer recommendations built into your soil test report when you get it back from UVM, as long as you use the proper crop codes to indicate golf course turf so there will be no need for you to then interpret the results and figure out how it translates into acceptable fertilizer use on the golf course.
Q: Do I send my soil test results in to the Agency of Ag. When I renew my Golf Course Permit?
A: No, please DO NOT send soil test results in to the Agency of Agriculture. When you receive results of your soil tests, review them carefully and base your fertilizer use upon those results, and keep those results in a file with your golf course Nutrient Management Plan (NMP). The golf course permit inspector will want to review those soil test results, along with your nutrient management plan and pesticide use records, when a routine inspection is conducted. Golf course inspections may be un-announced.
Resources for Golf Course Superintendents
Regulations – Old and New
DRAFT of the proposed changes to the Golf Course Permit Regulations (pdf) – Currently implementing a rollout of these requirements during the 2017 season in preparation for annual permit renewals starting in 2018.
Vermont Golf Course Regulations - 1991 (pdf) – Section IV. 9. of the Vermont Regulations for Control of Pesticides that cover Golf Course Permits.
Pesticide Information – How to request an amendment to your golf course permit
Vermont Golf Course Dilution Worksheet (updated February 2018 Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet) - performs calculations needed to amend golf course permits with non-prescreened products ( can also be used to request prescreened products). Please follow instructions on the first tab of this spreadsheet carefully before submitting this to the Golf Course Permit Coordinator.
Pre-Screened List (pdf) - The list of pesticides pre-approved for use on Golf Courses in Vermont. One must still apply to the Golf Course Permit Coordinator to add these to your Golf Course Permit by submitting the following information:
· product name and all active ingredients contained
· EPA Reg #
· location of application (tees, greens, fairways, roughs, etc.)
· proposed application rate
· proposed # of acres per treatment
· proposed # of applications per year
(Can use the dilution calculations spreadsheet above to request prescreened products, but not required)
Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) Information
For a list of all requirements, see “DRAFT of the proposed changes to the Golf Course Permit Regulations” above.
Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) Help – The NMP part of the new regulations, with tips on how to write that section following each. Also use the fertilizer recommendations for golf turf below to help in writing your nutrient management plan narrative.
Fertilization and Nutrient Management Guidelines for Golf Turf in Vermont
Dr. Sid Bosworth, Extension Professor, University of Vermont.
UVM’s Agricultural and Environmental Testing Lab Website:
You are not required to use UVM, but this lab will test soil and provide fertility recommendations for golf course turf in VT. Forms can be downloaded from this site. Note crop codes to indicate golf course turf are on the back of the order form.
Nitrate Leaching Index Information Sheet - how to find yours in 12 easy steps!
Natural Resources Atlas Website:
These are not required, but using them and completing them properly will ensure that you are following the pesticide and fertilizer record keeping requirements under the new regulations. Remember these records need to be maintained for 5 years. Updated December 2017: