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A Novel Method For Accurately Measuring Topdressing Rates March 15, 2019 By Addison Barden, agronomist, Southeast Region

Sand topdressing is an integral practice to maintain healthy putting greens and a smooth putting surface.

Light and frequent sand topdressing applications help maintain healthy putting green turf and good playing conditions. Measuring topdressing application rates is typically done by counting the amount of topdresser loads applied, sand topdressing bags used, or the total tons applied based on the number of truckloads delivered. Unfortunately, these methods will often underreport topdressing rates because they do not account for overthrow onto collars, approaches and rough.

John Jeffreys, superintendent at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C., devised a creative method to accurately measure topdressing rates applied to the putting greens only. John took an oil pan and lined the bottom with Enkamat® so that it catches sand when placed on the putting green during a topdressing application. Without the Enkamat – or similar material – sand will bounce out of the pan when applied.

The Enkamat-lined pan is weighed prior to the topdressing application, then placed on the putting green to catch applied sand. Next, the pan is weighed again to determine how much sand was collected. This sand weight is then converted to pounds of sand applied per 1,000 square feet to establish an accurate topdressing rate for the application equipment and setting. Average the weight of sand collected in the pan from three separate topdressing applications to establish an accurate sand topdressing rate.

Sand topdressing application rates are recorded and easily referenced for future applications.

This method can be used to accurately measure rates for routine topdressing applications or for heavy topdressing performed in conjunction with aeration. For more information on this method, and other topdressing programs, contact a USGA Agronomist.


Southeast Region Agronomists:

Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service –

Steve Kammerer, regional director –

Patrick M. O’Brien, agronomist –

Addison Barden, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

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