Standing outside The Golf Club at Newcastle at sunset in the summertime, you might believe you’re somewhere in Scotland. On the greens is a bagpiper playing to a distant city skyline. Behind him is an English manor-style clubhouse clad in stone.
Located in the hills above Newcastle, Washington, this facility offers breathtaking views of Seattle at 900 feet above sea level. The grounds evoke the Scottish Highlands with extreme elevation changes and wild grasses bordering greens.
Over the years, Newcastle has used a seemingly simple item to help keep this place on top of the world: Washington Rock’s golf course sand.
Making Great Greens with Sand
Two championship courses and a practice range take up most of the 350 acres of The Golf Club at Newcastle. Maintaining the large amount of turf is essential to providing a great golfing experience.
Top dressing greens and fairways is an important part of this maintenance process. Top dressing involves punching holes in the turf, spreading sand over the turf, and then sweeping sand into the holes. The Golf Club at Newcastle completes this process twice per year according to USGA recommendations.
Why top dress with sand? The top dressing process helps to reduce thatch buildup and smooths out putting surfaces. It means healthier grass, less scalping, and better ball-roll distances. The course will also drain better and play more consistently year round.
What that means for courses like Newcastle is that they can provide premium playing conditions for guests.
Making Washington Rock’s Golf Course Sand
The Golf Club at Newcastle uses Washington Rock’s Fairway Top Dressing Sand and Kiln-Dried Greens Top Dressing Sand, which have been certified through the USGA’s independent lab.
Mined from virgin earth in Orting, Washington, Washington Rock’s top dressing sand is screened to meet USGA specifications and then double washed. During production, Washington Rock’s quality control team tests the sand throughout each day to make sure it stays in spec.
Loading procedures ensure that haul trucks are completely clean and sand isn’t contaminated during transport. This attention to detail means that customers like The Golf Club at Newcastle can count on clean top dressing sand that consistently meets specifications.
The Gold Standard: Kiln-Dried Sand
The Golf Club at Newcastle uses Washington Rock’s Kiln-Dried Top Dressing Sand on greens. What makes kiln-dried sand special is that it is tumbled in a drying tunnel and heated until saturated-surface-dry (SSD)—meaning “bone dry.” Then the product is stored in silos to cool. While more expensive, kiln-dried sand ultimately saves on labor costs and downtime.
“When you apply it onto a green that you’ve punched, kiln-dried sand filters into the holes a lot easier and faster than regular sand,” says Tim Carlson, golf course representative for Washington Rock. “And you don’t get residue on the top of the greens, so that promotes playability sooner.”
Courses can simply blow excess sand off the greens, and then they’re ready to play.
To learn more about Washington Rock’s golf course sand products, visit our Golf Course Sand Products page. Washington Rock has worked with courses like The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge to verify compatibility with their current turf composition.
Read more about the historic opening of The Golf Club at Newcastle here. Congratulations to Scott Phelps, who recently achieved his dream job of becoming the Senior Manager of Parks, Golf Course Division, in the City of Fort Collins, Colorado.