Members often ask why there is sand on the greens from time to time. This sand is the result of a process called topdressing. We try to topdress the greens every 2-3 weeks. During the process, we apply roughly 5 tons of sand across all of the greens. Following the application of sand, we use a brush to work the material into the canopy of the green. Typically, the sand is visibly present for the next 3-4 days.
Topdressing is a very important process to ensure healthy greens. Grass is constantly forming new leaves. As the new leaves are formed, the older leaves die off and become organic matter (OM). The same can be said for the root system. In order to maintain the proper OM level in the soil profile, the sand is added to "dilute" this. The proper OM level is important to encourage drainage, nutrient uptake, and gas/air exchange.
In addition to OM levels, topdressing aids in keeping a firm, flat surface. One of the key ingredients in green speed is how recently fresh sand has been applied. The ideal timing for green speed is roughly 4-5 days after topdressing.
The process is not all positive as the sand is tough on the blades of the mowers. In addition, on wet mornings, sand has a tendency to stick to the ball and everything else.
I hope this helps clarify why we would "clutter" the greens with sand. If you have any questions, please reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org.