Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This year we have made it a goal to frequently light top dress our greens every 2 weeks.  Generally this practice will be accomplished on Monday's when the course is closed.  The process involves spreading out a fine layer of sand on all of our greens including the practice areas.  Coupled with this process, we will be verti-cutting or needle tining the greens. 

After putting out sand,  the greens are brushed to move the sand into the greens canopy.  The greens are then mowed and rolled to improve the playing surface.  Finally the greens are watered to help move the remaining sand down into the greens and to replenish moisture that was lost through the process.

Players may notice a trace of sand on the surface for a few days after top dressing.  Generally the sand sand does not effect ball roll, but it can accumulate on the golf ball when conditions are moist.
We also top dress tees, and approaches through the season.  Also during fall aerification, aerification cores from tees, approaches, and fairways are busted up and used as topdressing on their respective areas.

- Provides a smoother more consistent putting surface
- helps fill in ball marks and minor imperfections 
- improves playing consistency of the green
- helps create a firmer playing surface
- helps in preventing accumulation of thatch
- aids in drainage
- Improves consistency green to green

Brushing in sand

- Can be labor intensive
- Sand dulls reels and bed knives of mowers
- Can cause mechanical injury to playing surface from brushing


We have finished adding sand to our bunkers this year.  In April all of the green side bunkers were addressed with 2" of new sand added to improve playability.  This month we have worked on improving many of our fairway bunkers.  We have fixed drain lines that were clogged or raised in some of these fairway traps as well as restoring sand to desired levels.  The most noticeable improvement is the left fairway trap on #13.  We completely removed the old contaminated sand and replaced with new.

#13 Bunker Old Sand
Removing Sand
#13 Bunker New Sand

Monday, May 7, 2012

Green Speed

Many golfers that had played a few rounds during April, had witnessed extremely fast and smooth green speeds.  The speeds not only at Forest Lake C.C. but in neighboring courses were some of the fastest greens on record.  We maintained the greens, with frequent topdressing and rolling, but the major factor allowing these conditions to be possible were the cool dry nights and days through April keeping the playing surfaces firm and from growing.

On May 2nd the warmth and humidity arrived waking up the dormant greens.  Followed by 1.5 inches of rain on May 3rd, conditions were perfect for the grass to start growing. 

Mowing Greens
Grass clippings from 1 Green
Although our greens speeds have slowed down from the growth and moisture they are still rolling smooth.  Golfers perception is comparing them to the dry, fast, and firm greens we benefited from in April, making them appear relatively slow.

We also maintain the golf course greens in the morning for daily play.  As the day progresses the grass starts to grow, slowing down the greens for the evening golfer. Comparable to a clean shave in the morning becoming a 5 O'clock shadow come night time.

The Annual Bluegrass (POA) on our greens have also started to push out seed.  We apply growth regulators preventatively early spring to minimize seed head, but results are never 100%.  Seed head on greens can cause bumpy playing surfaces.  The stalky nature of the plant and seed also affects the quality of cut on our shorter mowed surfaces.

POA Seed head - close up
We will be working hard at trying to maintain the balance of aggressively growing turf, with cultural practices.  The spring time yearly provides us with similar challenges. Our goal is to always provide consistent fast smooth greens, and the best playing conditions possible.