Importance of Sand in Golf Courses


Golf courses need a lot of care and maintenance to remain at desirable playing conditions. The use of sand is becoming more popular in maintaining golf courses. However, some people tend to misunderstand this practice, especially golfers. They feel that sanded greens tend to play poorly. That much couldn’t be any further from the truth. If anything, golf course sand has a myriad of benefits that you may never have known. Understanding its importance can help reduce the frustrations of most golfers when they come across the “silver sheen” on greens in their next round of golf. Take a look at some of the benefits of using sand;

Enhances smoothness

In a golf course, there are some voids within the turf canopy between turfgrass leaves and stems that cause inconsistent ball roll. The use of sand helps in filling these voids, therefore, providing smoother and more accurate putts. A golfer doesn’t have to worry about the inconsistencies, and he/she can concentrate on rolling the ball into the hole as smoothly as possible. What most people fail to realize, is that golf courses that don’t use sand topdressing a much harder to play in.

Improves firmness 

Every turf produces organic matter, especially in the upper zone, therefore, creating soft, spongy playing conditions. Failure to dilute the natural material with sand topdressing enables it to accumulate and act like a sponge that holds excess water near the surface. Excess accumulation of organic material leads to a decline of putting green health and playability. Even walking in such a surface can leave footprints, which affects smoothness significantly. Sometimes when the golf ball lands on the soft, putting greens, it can create deep ball marks. This is not ideal for professional golfing since rolling the ball into the hole gets significantly inconvenienced. The use of sand regularly, as well as core aeration, increases the firmness and resilience of the surface. As a result, the golfer remains entirely in control of their putts.

Helps in thatch dilution

The thatch comprises of a layer of organic debris, stems, crowns as well as roots in the upper rootzone. If not attended to, it can become concentrated, leading to mower scalping and localized dry spots. Diluting the thatch using sand through practices like sand topdressing ensures the turf quality is not compromised.

Facilitates turf recovery

Its typical for every golf course to occasionally encounter turf thinning, especially on putting greens. The use of sand plays a crucial role in cushioning the leaf tips as well as crowning and reducing algae.

The use of sand in golf courses is being embraced now more than ever. However, the amount applied depends entirely on the time of the year and the growth rate of the turfgrass. For courses that use bermudagrass putting greens, they require more sand during the summer when the turf is actively growing. However, during the colder months, sand can still be applied but in lighter rates. Generally, sand is used in golf courses to create smooth, firm surfaces in putting greens to enhance the golfing experience.


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