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I was taking a lunch time walk at work and noticed some council workers filling in a sizable patch (about 1m square) with soil. I've noticed this done on golf courses and also on sports grounds and I am curious to find out. Why are divots, and small ditches filled in with sand or with a very sandy soil with very minimal organic matter?

My brother used to work on a golf course and the typical thing for someone to do to fill in a sizable divot is to fill the spot with sand.

Why is this the case?

You can see an example of this here: http://golf.about.com/od/beginners/ss/repair_divots_4.htm

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FYI, it's not JUST sand, but rather sand and seed. I don't know this for a fact, but my hunch is they use it simply because it's the least messy option for golfers in their white shoes and outfits to deal with. –  DA. Aug 10 '12 at 18:28

2 Answers 2

Sand has a couple of advantages over regular soil.

  • Sand doesn't harden when underwatered, or when watered and then left dry for a long time.

  • Sand drains really well so it won't stay wet if it is overwatered.

  • Sand is also very loose so when seeds germinate (or grass from the divot starts rooting again) the roots don't have to work too hard to spread and grow down into the ground. This allows grass to root more quickly.

Lastly from what I can tell, there is a pragmatic reason. It's fairly easy for a golfer to carry a small bag of sand, or sand/seed mix in his bag or cart to fill divots.

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I am an avid golfer and there seems to be some confusion. Let me clarify.

First, to keep good drainage and oxygen supply to the roots of the turf, it is aerated regularly. Then greens are top-dressed with sand to fill the voids and encourage more growth. Sand is used to prevent compaction and maintain moisture levels.

Sand can be used on greens grown from bent grass because every little piece of bent grass that is cut and left on the ground can root and become a new plant. There is no need for sand but I have seen some golf courses add seed to the sand that is used to replace divots on par 3 tee boxes. I imagine this is to speed up the process since they aren't mowed quite as often as the greens, and thus less bits to root on themselves.

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