Why do you do that? Topdressing Greens
To a golfer, typically it’s a four-letter word that belongs amongst the worst of the other “four letter words.” It means you are in a bunker, and you may experience a less than ideal shot. (Bunker consistency and the like, well that will be a whole other blog post…maybe) But from the agronomy side of things, sand is a key component to maintaining the health of our greens, tees, and even fairways. There are multiple uses for sand such as filling divots, raising lows areas, firming up wet spots, and more. But for today’s blog I am going to focus solely on its use in greens root zone and surface management and the various advantages the proper use of sand can provide to the putting surface.
The word “topdressing” can define a variety of different forms of sand applications on greens, but in its traditional sense, it is the act of applying sand directly to the surface of the turf at various depths. This has several beneficial affects on the turf. (1) Provides a smoother ball roll- ball marks, foot traffic, equipment, and other intrusions on the greens surface can lead to “bouncy” ball roll and light and frequent applications of sand help to level these slight variances on the surface and make for smoother putting. (2) Organic Matter/Thatch management- dead and decaying plant material can build up in sub surface regions of the green and lead to a “spongy” feeling putting surface that doesn’t react well to impact and can lead to less than desirable turf conditions. Sand, whether incorporated in aeration holes, or just applied to the surface and allowed to penetrate into root zone, can in affect dilute the organic matter and provide a healthier turf. (3) Those of you blog followers read about aeration (If you didn’t, time to catch up!!), and in that blog I discussed soil structure. Removal of the soil and reincorporation of sand allows for more air space as sand in a soil column is far more porous than a loamy or silty soil and allows for better movement of water and air into the root zone.
So, to conclude… while sand in the bunkers makes for a hazard and possible expletive, on the greens, when properly used, is essential to provide the best possible playing conditions and provide sustainability to the soil.
I want to thank you for reading my last few blog posts…. I am very interested in covering topics you as the reader would like to learn more about. So please feel free to email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org check back next week for another “Why do you do that”