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The Benefits of Topdressing

15 APR 2021

Turf Newsletter

Wow, things are starting to green up and fast! Trees are budding, birds are chirping, the grass is growing, and weeds are starting to initiate…ugh!

Our greens have been on an every-second day cut cycle and tees and fairways are getting into their second cuts this spring. Our greens heat up a bit more due to the sand-based profile and once they reached 12-degree Celsius they took off. Roots are extremely healthy, and the canopy looks great to begin the year. It’s time to start getting those putting surfaces rolling well!!



We just completed the singular most important agronomic practice for our greens, Sand Topdressing.  We use a spinner-type machine that applies a thin layer of sand to the surface. We then use a mat to incorporate the sand into the thatch layer (at least past the leaf canopy). We top-dress every 2 weeks, and this is somewhat dependent on the weather because rain and extreme heat are detrimental to the process. Numerous times throughout the year we verticut (a slicing action that removes thatch and stands the bent grass plant up…hence bent!)  Topdressing has a long list of benefits.

  • Firms and smooths up the surface
  • Thatch dilution and control
  • Crown protection
  • Input versus removal
  • Trues up ball roll
  • Assists in standing up the grass plants
  • Ball mark leveling
  • Assists in plant durability
  • Increases speed of the green

Immediately after our sand addition, our surfaces roll extremely true. We do endure some mower blade dulling issues as the sand acts as an abrasion. Our mechanics love it when we top-dress…cue the sarcasm emoji!

Bill McAllister, Golf Course Superintendent