Mr. Sandman

By Bob Vavrek, senior agronomist, North-Central Region
November 11, 2013

Don’t skimp on sand during the pre-winter topdressing operation. On the other hand, never bury the greens and smother the turf. This is your chance to make up for a few of the past summer’s missed topdressing applications and protect turf from winter wind desiccation.

It’s getting real close to putting courses to bed across the north-central tier of states. By now, most facilities are in the process of winterizing irrigation systems and protecting turf from winter diseases. Never underestimate the value of applying a substantial application of sand to the greens as the final maintenance practice of the season. Many courses fail to apply adequate sand to the greens during the months of peak play and, consequently, fail to dilute the natural accumulation of organic matter. Pre-winter topdressing can partially compensate for inadequate inputs of sand during the summer.

Sand can also provide some protection from wind desiccation during an open winter and by the time it’s ready to resume mowing next spring, the topdressing sand will have disappeared into the putting surface. Best of all, the sand is applied when it will have the least effect on play. You’ve tucked in your greens with fungicides and given them a drink of water, now it’s time for “Mr. Sandman” to put them to sleep. 

Source: Bob Vaverk (

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

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