How to Help, Questions & Answers about Sand Greens

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PastureGolf.com
Sand Greens
Q&A

Questions and Answers as well as a Little How to Help for the Pasture Golf Course Manager Regarding the Construction and Maintenance of Sand Greens

A sand green at Woodburn Golf Club,  Woodburn, OregonQuick Page Index
How to Rake A Sand Green
Sand Green Cups
Questions and Answers about Sand GreensSand Green Construction PointersList of Sand Greens Courses

PastureGolf.com finds itself in the middle of an ongoing discussion regarding the construction, care and maintenance of what is known as sand greens. We have received messages from those who have old courses with existing sand greens and from those who are interested in building new sand greens courses. This is not meant to be a legal guide on property uses, property taxes, land use or environmental law. Who knew a simple thing like Pasture Golf could be so complex? What we have here are some "Frequently Asked Questions" and some commentary about sand greens, which we shall post in bulletin board style. To contribute your views on this subject, feel free to contact us.

The protocol for raking sand greens is demonstrated by Bruce at the New England Golf Course in New England, North Dakota
A special two-sided rake is used to groom the green. One side of the rake is toothed to create a grooved surface on the sand, the other side of the rake is a straight edge to create a smooth putting surface.

1. After the golfer's ball reaches the sand green, the rake is used to smooth a path from the ball to the hole.

 

 

2. Bruce admires the smooth pathway which he has just raked and hopes he will be able to sink the putt.

3. After the player putts out, the toothed rake is used to groom the green.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. The rake is dragged in a circular motion, beginning at the hole and working away from it. Care is taken not to expose the lip of the cup. (Photos by Cal Steiner)

 

 

 

 

A Look at Sand Green Cups
Thanks to our friends at Lake of the Forest Golf Club in Bonner Springs, Kansas who sent the following information illustrating details about sand green accessories.

"Our couse has been around since the the 20's and I think some of our cups have been around that long too. We did replace some a few years back, after vandals ran over the greens in golf carts, flattening flagsticks and bending up cups.

Sand green cups are made up of two pieces as opposed to the single cup design used on grass greens. They consist of a sleeve which the cup either slides inside or rests on the top of the sleeve by virtue of a flanged rim. They are made of steel, have a bottom with holes in it to allow for water drainage, and have the flag support, welded to the bottom. This enables the golfer to remove stick, drag path while cup is in hole, then remove to empty sand and putt. Channel lock pliers are common equipment in our foursomes to aide in the removal of sticky cups. I would think someone has improved on this technology but I've never seen it so if you come across a better mousetrap let me know. Also we love to share our course with avid sand golfers so let me know if you're in the Kansas City area and we'll tee it up. Good luck!" - T.L. 11/22/02

Some Further Questions & Answers About Sand Greens

Q: We are celebrating our 100 years at the Santa Ana Country Club. Part of the celebration is having the members putt on a sand green. I need some info on how to construct a small (200-300 sq.ft.) green. - D.Z., Santa Ana Country Club, Santa Ana, California

A: Thanks for contacting us regarding your sand greens question. I am forwarding your request for information to others who have experience with building and/or maintaining sand greens courses. Perhaps they can be of help in your search for information on how-to build a temporary sand green for your Country Club's Centennial Celebration. Good luck! Please let us know how it turns out. We'd love a photo series of the construction process to post on our sand greens Q&A page.

"I grew up in Florida and there was a muni in the town of Sanford that had sand greens that were saturated in used crank case oil and rolled every few days. This was in the late '40s before "environmental awarness", but talk about fast greens it was like putting on linoleum." - R.D., Palo Alto, CA

Q: The use of used motor oil, turbine oil, and other petroleum products is banned for use on sand greens. Has anyone tried other chemicals, like dust control for roads. I do not know the name of the products. - J.C.

A: Here's a source of information about a soybean oil by-product that's used for dust control on roadways that looks promising for sand greens. There are contact names and numbers given on the site. Maybe you could do some research and let us know what you find out!

Q: I own some land in south central Nebraska and am considering putting in a small sand greens golf course for personal and family use. Nothing commercial. Can you provide any information about how to build a sand green? Someone told me “Dig a hole, pour in some sand, pour oil on the sand”. I don't believe the E.P.A. would take kindly to me pouring oil on the ground! So what do I mix with the sand? Are there recommendations on how deep the sand should be? How big the greens should be? Where can I buy the cups for a sand green? Is there an “Association of Sand Greens Courses” or something like that? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide! - K.S.

A: Thanks for contacting us with your sand greens questions. I am going to refer you to T.L. of K.C. who contacted us in February when he was inquiring about developing a dialog with other pasture golfers to share ideas on maintenance and care of “browns” (the affectionate name for sand greens). He's also interested in possibly engaging in a traveling competition tournament with another sand green course.

I have heard that sand greens in Puerto Rico were mixed with coconut oil. Here is a brief excerpt from that link appears below:

“Putting on sand was child’s play because the first sand greens were all flat, just like a pie, and they were recessed in the fairway, actually. They used beach sand with coconut oil to build some consistency so it would not blow away. A burlap sack was strapped to the end of a pole and the caddie would go around and smooth the green of any tracks that were left on the surface of the sand.”

In Australia they use "sump oil" mixed with sand but lay down an impermeable ground cloth beneath the new greens to protect the environment.

“The whole of the site will be dry, there will be no grass anywhere, so the tees and greens will be the ‘western solution’ of sand mixed with sump-oil over an impermeable base to prevent pollution of subsoils.” - Source: Inside QUT, August 27-September 9, 1996 - p. 8).

Please keep us informed of what you find out and we'll add it to our site for others!

A: (From T.L. of K.C.)
Sounds like you have been given the correct info on building the sand greens. Yes, they do perform much better when “oiled”. It serves several purposes: It retards runoff and erosion of the sand during downpours, and more importantly, it keeps weeds from growing in the sand. Otherwise you'll be fighting the encroaching grass/weed population. Environmental concerns are an issue and you're well advised to consider them. Our greens were constructed in the 1920's and had been oiled annually up until about 5 years ago. Their playability is not as good as it was when we oiled them and we spend a lot of money on weed killer, which in my opinion has it's own environmental impact.

I have no experience with the unpenetrable fabric under the sand, but I've got to believe that it would not work completely. Some water, sand & whatever is mixed in the sand will escape from the green. Our greens were placed on top of hills so that there is usually a natural drainage area. However the soil type is very important. Ours is heavy clay in some areas which causes some unique drainage problems. We redressed the greens a few years ago and dug 3-4 12" round and 6' deep holes in the greens and filled with gravel to help with the drainage. Worked fine but will eventually fill up with sand, etc. There is a commercial product that you can spray on the ground that breaks down compact soils & clay. I think it's called Enviromax. I've heard if you spray it on a farm pond it will drain it.

Setting pins, cups & flags is another issue and can be expensive as most golf suppliers provide cups/flags for grass greens. Someone in our golf group has a source if you need one. I also encourage you to check with your local property taxing authority to be sure you can maintain your “agricultural” property status. Should the taxing authority deem your project a “recreational/golf course” property - the taxes might kill the dream. - T.L.

List of Sand Greens Courses on PastureGolf.com

Annie Lake Golf Course, South Klondike Hwy., Whitehorse, Y.T.
Cottonwood Falls Country Club, RR 1, Cottonwood Falls, Kansas 66845
Fayette Golf Club, Hwy 5 and 240, Fayette, MO 65248
Fort Bayard National, 305 James, PO Box 412, Santa Clara, NM 88026
Grant City Golf Club, Route 1, Grant City, MO 64456
Lake of the Forest Golf Club, 406 Lake Forest, Bonner Springs, Kansas 66012
McIntire Park Municipal Golf Course, McIntire Park East, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
McLean Golf Course, McLean, Texas 79057
New England Golf Course, New England Golf Association, New England, ND 58647
NW Angle Country Club, Northwest Angle, MN
Pend Oreille Golf & Country Club, Off Highway 31, Metaline Falls, WA 99153
Salt Creek Country Club, Box 203, Midwest, WY 82643
Swede Hill Golf Course, 1445 River Road, Buhl, ID 83316
Yellow Lake Golf Course, 7768 County Rd U, Danbury, WI 54830
Woodburn Golf Club, Woodburn, Oregon

We welcome your comments about sand greens!

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This Page Updated: June 27, 2005

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