Golf Course Management

Hollow Tinning

Hollow tining is the practice of sinking a hollow steel tine into your grass surface and removing the plug of grass and soil.

This will then be deposited temporarily on the surface. This is then removed and  topdressing is spread and worked in.

The aim of this is to aerate your lawn, allowing air down to your grass roots. It also reduces any compaction your lawn has sustained.

Lawn aeration is the process of breaking up the surface of the lawn to better allow oxygen, nutrients and water to penetrate into the root zone.

Aerating helps relieve compaction caused by heavy foot traffic and provides an ideal seed bed for overseeding.

Aerating also aids in reducing thatch build-up and promotes deep rooting of the grass plant.

How is aerating achieved?

Aerating can be done several ways. Core aerating uses hollow tines or forks to remove a plug of the turf.

The hole provides a seed bed and an entry point for the nutrients, air and water, as well as proving a seed bed for overseeding.

The plug is usually left on the surface and is ground up and worn away by subsequent mowings or a vigorous raking.

At this time the lawn can also be topdressed with loam, compost or other soil amendments.

Aerating can also be done with solid tines. No core is removed so topdressing and overseeding are slightly less effective but the surface is still penetrated allowing for improved air, water and nutrients uptake and some relief of compaction.

Aerating is usually accomplished with a walk behind machine with hollow or solid tines mounted on a drum which propels the machine forward, poking holes along the way.

Aerating can also be done with simple tools like a pitchfork, a pitchfork-like tool with hollow tines, or even sandals equipped with long spikes.

When and how often should I aerate?

Aerating is most effective when done every fall, especially if it is done in conjunction with overseeding and fertilizing as part of a complete lawn care program.

Aerating every other year or even every three years is acceptable if the lawn is low use and low maintenance.

Top Dressing

Following aeration or overseeding, a topdressing is applied to quicken healing or growth, as the case may be.

The topdressing consists of sand and fertilizer along with soil for aerified greens or seed for overseeded greens.


"The main purpose of topdressing is to improve drainage through the introduction of Horticultural/Sports Grade Sand to the roots. IT MUST BE Sports Grade Sand"

"The second main reason for topdressing, especially on lighter sandy soils and poor, old lawns is the addition of non-mineral, slow release nutrition, for example compost or peat.

This helps to break down the thatch layer. DO NOT use loam or clay as the fine particles can undo the drainage effect you are trying to achieve."




Over Seeding

"Overseeding" refers to a maintenance process on golf courses in which grass seed is spread on top of the existing grass to promote new growth or to swap out seasonal turfs, replacing one type of grass with another.

Overseeding is most commonly done by courses that use bermudagrass, which goes dormant during winter months.

In the autumn, a bermudagrass golf course overseeds with, for example, ryegrass seed on top of the bermudagrass, timed so that as the bermudagrass goes dormant the ryegrass grows in.

In spring, the process would be reversed: Bermudagrass seed is put down on top of the ryegrass, switching the course's turf back to bermuda.

(Bermuda and rye are used as examples because the overseeding of those turfgrasses in partnership is fairly common.

Various types of grasses might be involved in overseeding, but the process is most commonly used to switch a golf course over from a warm-season grass to a cool-season grass, and back again.)

Overseeding often involves putting the seed down along with a thin layer of sand, then allowing the new grass to grow in for many days without being cut.

So overseeding (which is sometimes done in conjuntion with aeration) can, for a period of a week or 10 days or so, result in very "hairy" greens, fairways and tee boxes.

Because greens with uncut grass can be difficult to putt on, some (but not all) golf courses offer green fee discounts during periods of overseeding.

Some courses also use "temporary greens" during the overseeding process to keep golfers from walking on the fresh and newly growing putting green grass.