Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bunker Sand & Verticutting

Bunker Sand

This past week we added some sand to many of our bunkers.  A number of bunkers have become much to hard and sand was needed to make them more playable.  Sand exits bunkers many different ways from players hitting shots, through drain tiles located underneath bunkers and from wind blowing sand out of bunkers.  We added sand to the chipping bunker, #1, #6, #7, #8, #11, and #17.  Earlier in the season we added sand to #2 greenside bunkers and the front bunkers on #13.

Keep in mind that this new sand will be soft until it ages. Sand gets a firmer once we have a few rain storms to settle and pack the sand into place. Expect a few plugged lies in the meantime.


Verticutting is essentially de-thatching or vertical mowing.  This week we verticut tees and greens in two directions.  Because our greens are now predominately bentgrass we will have to verticut more often in order to make the putting surfaces smoother.  Bentgrass has a prostrate growing habit which can influence leaf resistance causing the greens to putt slower.  By verticutting we remove excess tissue and stand the bentgrass up to make a smoother putting surface.

Here are some benefits of verticutting:
  • Removal of thatch.
  • Increase green speed
  • Encourage grass to stand up straighter, making for a smoother putting surface.
  • Improve effectiveness of  sand topdressing
  • Increase sunlight exposure to roots
The first picture is of a green after being verticut 2x, mowed and then rolled.  As you can see it has no evidence that anything was done.  This is because there is very little thatch in our greens.  This process on greens was done to improve ball roll and smoothness. The plant will look more upright and many of the long strands of grass will be cut resulting in better putting surfaces.

The second picture is of a tee that was verticut 2x, mowed and topdressed.   You will notice some browning and thinning of the overall turf stand.  Our tees unlike greens have too much thatch and we removed a good amount this week, hence the browning/thinning.  Thatch is detrimental to turf because it harbors disease, insects, impedes root development, restricts air movement within the soil and bridges rain water/ irrigation from reaching the soil causing localized try spots. 

When playing the next couple of days you will NOT notice the greens putting any differently in fact they might putt better.  Tees however will look brown and thin in some spots because we thinned out excess thatch in some areas.  This is not a bad thing but a very good thing. Thanks.