Graden Sand Injection Process

Last season the addition of large volumes of sand helped the greens cope with winter stress and allowed for firmer healthier greens this spring.  During May many golf courses receive an early aerification to help the plant better cope with summer stress by improving soil conditions.  The ultimate goal of aerification is to improve soil porosity and surface firmness.

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Our spring aeration event from May 5th to 7th involved the use of a deep tine solid aerator and the Graden Sand Injection unit.  This machine is equipped with aggressive carbide tipped blades that remove organic matter in the upper surface profile.  This event impacted approximately 10% of the surface area injecting 60 tons of kiln dried sand through the thatch and into the previously applied sand topdressing layer.  This procedure, although intense, will aid in thatch removal, moving water through the upper profile thereby firming the playing surfaces.  This method of organic matter removal and dilution has been employed with great success at many well established courses throughout Europe, Australia and North America including Oak Hill, Glenn Eagles, St. Andrews, Royal Melbourne, Oakmount, Muirfield Village and Medina.

Thatch removal and dilution programs are critical in the success of all healthy putting greens.  An excessive amount of thatch can lead to:

  • Increased disease and insect activity
  • Potential hydrophobic restrictions to water penetration
  • Increased puffiness and surface water retention
  • Slower putting speeds

The following two photos demonstrate thatch accumulation on the surface of a green and the capacity of thatch to retain water in spite of the excellent rootzone below.

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Please click here to watch video demonstrating our Graden Sand Injection process.


  • 18 hours of Deep Tine solid aeration at a depth of 7.5 inches
  • 28 hours of Graden operation
  • 120,000 lbs. (60 tons) of kiln dried USGA recommended topdressing sand
  • 6,000 buckets of hand delivered sand material
  • Approximately 1500 ft3 of thatch removal
  • 200 lbs. of Creeping Bentgrass seed
  • 30 tons of additional surface applied topdressing sand
  • 24 hours of rolling
  • 26 committed and dedicated Grounds Team members


All cultural practices will be carried out in such a way as to minimize the impact to membership with the ultimate goal of providing superior, healthier putting surfaces. Read about the 2013 Cultural practices here.