A topic discussed during many recent TAS visits has been the importance of topdressing putting greens with sand. Sand is applied even during the winter months in the Florida Region, as turf is still growing in central to south Florida. Some sand is needed to improve both golf course playability and turf health.
Bermudagrass produces a network of stems that intermingle to form a layer of thatch in the upper rootzone. Some thatch is beneficial because it provides surface resiliency, but excessive thatch softens putting greens, increases the incidence of mower scalping and disease, and decreases surface smoothness. Sand topdressing improves surface firmness and smoothness, dilutes thatch, and protects turfgrass growing points (or crowns). The amount and frequency of sand topdressing is dictated by soil temperature and how active the turf grows at any particular time.
Sand topdressing is not a new practice, having been used by Old Tom Morris at St. Andrews. Yet, it seems that we continue to talk about this misunderstood practice to golfers each year. Some golfers believe that it disrupts playing conditions, when in fact it improves playability. Educating golfers is a continual, yet worthwhile, endeavor to decrease frustration for all parties.
Speaking of education, the USGA and Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association will host a regional seminar on May 13th at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. Speakers and topics include:
Firm and Dry for Everyday Play
John Foy, Director, Florida Region, USGA Green Section
Planning, Planting, and Managing Seasonal Wildflowers in South Florida
Kyle Sweet, CGCS, The Sanctuary Golf Club
Turfgrass Trends: What’s Working Well in the Field
Todd Lowe, Senior Agronomist, Florida Region, USGA Green Section
Trends in Architecture
Steve Smyers, Golf Course Architect/USGA Executive Committee
Marking the Golf Course: The basics that every superintendent should know
Tom Zaras, Tournament Director, FSGA
Interpreting Water Tests – It’s as easy as 1 - 2 - 3!
Brian S. Whitlark, Agronomist, Southwest Region, USGA Green Section
To sign up for this meeting, please contact:
PO Box 65
Jensen Beach, FL 34958
Florida only: 800-732-6053
Source: Todd Lowe, firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-828-2625