At Highland Pacific Golf, course improvements are always a priority and keep our crew busy for most of the summer. They can range from raising and leveling sprinkler heads in order to improve our irrigation efficiency to removing invasive plants in the naturalized areas. These changes benefit our golfers, especially the latter for when you hit that errant shot, you are not fighting against the strong Canadian thistle.
One of the course improvements that is negatively perceived by many golfers is the cultural practice of top dressing our greens. Top dressing is the practice of lightly covering the greens with sand. Just the mention of top dressing scares some people away from the course for that day. It can be a great day to golf, though, if our top dressing practice goes smoothly and we get it brushed in well. This can be a challenge first thing in the morning, however, after a night of watering or from dew that makes the sand clump. We often blow the first few greens to get the sand off the surface that will not go into the canopy of the plant. After the sun comes up and helps dry the sand it goes into the canopy a lot easier.
We top dress the greens for several reasons as follows:
To help smooth the surface of the green for better putting
To help control thatch build up through dilution
To firm the surface
To protect the crown of the plant
To improve the health of the root system of the plant
We strive to make the putting surface the best we can with the resources and man power that we have. So next time you see us top dressing look at it as a benefit to your game for without it the greens would suffer.
Enjoy the rest of the summer. Our crew looks forward to seeing you out there.
Geoff Sheffield and Crew