It’s ‘Sandfiller Season’ says GKB Machines

Careful management of organic matter levels is critical to optimising both the health and play characteristics of golf greens. When it comes to managing these thatch layers, there is no universal tool or technique that will suit every course, however methods and machines are now at our disposal that are far less disruptive and can incorporate additional operations such as simultaneous sand injection which helps to bring surfaces back into play even quicker. One such machine is the Sandfiller from GKB.

The GKB Sandfiller scarifies the surface down to depths of up to 40mm, removing organic matter and creating channels which are simultaneously filled with sand or a combination of sand and seed – maximising efficiency and improving drainage and ground firmness in one pass. The unit features a 400L hopper to collect the removed material, leaving a clean and tidy finish and allowing the surface to be back in play almost instantly.

One venue who employed the services of a contractor last September to conduct the Sandfiller operation is Wenvoe Castle Golf Club. Head Greenkeeper Lucy Sellick explains, “The wetter winters, combined with a smaller than normal greenkeeping team, meant we were looking for a fast and effective solution to removing organic matter and firming up the greens. The contractor began on a Thursday morning, and by Friday lunchtime all 19 greens were back in play – with organic matter removed, backfilled with 22 tons of kiln-dried sand and just one team member brushing in the remaining surface sand. Any concerns we had about how the Sandfiller would handle our Mackenzie style slopes and undulations were also unfounded.”

“Now in February, our organic matter readings have reduced, and the greens are definitely firmer. Despite all the rainfall, we’ve managed to get a triple on the greens which just wouldn’t have been possible before.” She concludes, “We had the Sandfiller in during spring renovations back in 2023 to carry out scarification work only, and have it booked in again this September where it’ll play an important role in our pre-winter renovations and organic matter management once again.”