Golfers spend very little time on tees, often walking on just long enough to put their ball on a tee, take a practice swing or two, hit the ball and go on their way. Golfers are not the only ones spending little time on tees, maintenance staffs are also guilty of this. Tees often do not get the topdressing that they need to maintain a level, even surface. At many courses, divots are about the only thing getting sand regularly to aid in turf reestablishment.
Filling divots without applying even layers of sand to the entire tee surface can create uneven areas, especially in highly used parts of the tee where more divots are created and repaired. If only the divots receive sand, players will eventually feel the unevenness of the tees underfoot, and could start asking questions regarding the condition of the tees.
Applying sand evenly over the tee surface will smooth imperfections on a macro scale, rather than the micro scale of divot filling. Spring can be a very good time to perform this task. Play is not yet at its peak and grass is starting to grow, but not so much that it needs to be cut daily or even every other day. Thus, sand can be applied and allowed to lay for several days while the grass grows through.
A superintendent’s primary focus will always be on putting green prep and management, and I am not here to talk you out of that. Rather, I just want to remind everyone not to forget about other areas of the course, especially tees, which are important but often do not see the level of maintenance that they should.
Northeast Region Agronomists:
Adam Moeller, director, Green Section Education – firstname.lastname@example.org
Darin Bevard, director, Championship Agronomy – email@example.com
Elliott Dowling, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Jacobs, agronomist – email@example.com