As you can imagine with the Dye’s Valley course, the PLAYERS Stadium course, and all the landscaping in between, we manage a lot of turfgrass here at TPC Sawgrass. At the beginning of each summer we begin our cultural practices, which include verticutting, aerification, and top dressing.
When turfgrass grows, it aggressively meshes together and will overlap older, dead grass material. Thatch is the term given to the old grass material. Too much thatch can make it difficult for turf roots to reach the soil for its much needed water and nutrients. The main purpose of verticutting is to remove the thatch layer under the grass canopy. Verticutting is like mowing except the blades are vertical, so the blades cut down into the turf, removing thatch, instead of trimming the height as mowers do.
We have a lot of foot traffic on many of our turfgrass areas. This leads to compaction of the soil causing less water and air to be stored in the soil as well as making it difficult for turf to grow healthy roots. Aerification is a process that loosens the soil by repeatedly punching the turf with 5/8” hollow tines.
After executing the two aforementioned cultural practices, we then topdress these areas with sand in order to replace the soil that was removed during the aerification process. The vertical holes, now filled with sand, allows for better moisture penetration and air/gas exchange.
All of these cultural practices are critical to keep the Bermudagrass turf in championship level condition year round.