Ask JW: Avoiding the Putting Green Wrinkle Effect


Over the years, hundreds of synthetic turf putting greens succumb to a “wrinkling affect” due to improper installation. The biggest cause behind these wrinkles is often due to improper infill amount along with temperature changes.

Whether you are installing texturized or slit-film (a.k.a. fibrillated) turf, it is critical to understand what it takes to “ballast” the product as well as “negative thermal expansion’s” role for a successful putting green installation.

Critical Terms to Remember

  • “Ballast” is defined as a heavy material used to improve stability and maintain balance and steadiness.
  • “Negative thermal expansion” is defined as the tendency of matter to change in volume in response to a change in temperature through heat transfer.

These two concepts will play a major role to a successful putting green install, wrinkles not included.

***LET’S BEGIN!***

When installing putting green materials, it is important to lay the turf roll flat for a couple of hours prior to installation so the putting green’s surface will flatten.

**Please remember: If you expose wrinkled synthetic turf to UV sunlight and other harsh environmental conditions for long periods of time, this will cause the synthetic turf to memorize its shape and therefore make these wrinkles impossible to remove.**

During installation, it must be stretched tightly and secured to flatten any wrinkles. Once the entire putting green surface is installed, it is very important to prevent heavy traffic on the fibers in order to avoid premature matting. Not only will premature matting give the ball an uneven rolling surface, it will inhibit the proper amount of infill needed to ballast the putting green.

I have personally installed hundreds of putting greens and found that the infill material’s granular size is very important for ballast. By educating your team about different infill types, sizes and placement, you will cover a crucial step towards a better putting surface. Avoid using materials like beach sand, coal slag, dirty silica, fine cementsand. A putting green surface always needs a quality infill! By utilizing the correct infill and amount, you can avoid wrinkling and give the end user a professional playing surface.

Be mindful of “static electricity” while incorporating your infill. When using a substandard infill and infill size, the installer must aggressively scrub the infill with either a push broom or fibrillating machines to work the infill below the surface. The excessive scrubbing creates static electricity and causes most infill to stick to the fibers and therefore never reaching the base of the putting green material.

SGW carries #60mesh putting green infill that will quickly drop to the base of your putting green surface. This infill will not only minimize the need to aggressively scrub, but it will also save your installers time and labor to complete the infill process.

A typical synthetic putting green averages around ½ inch in thickness and requires between two and three pounds of infill per square foot. To make sure the surface has a true ballast along with 9-12 Stimp meter rating (measurement for a putting green’s speed), I recommend three pounds of infill per square foot for your putting green.

In order to determine how much infill you will need for your installation, follow this simple formula:

Square foot of your putting green X Recommended Pounds of infill = Total amount of infill needed

For example:

1200 square foot putting green X 3 pounds of recommended infill = 3,600 pounds of infill needed for your job

SGW True Putt product is an exception to your typical putting green as it is a tournament quality putting green and features a high Stimp meter rating. This product acts much like a real bent grass and requires four to five pounds of sand per square foot.

For the SGW Nylon Putt Two-Tone, Poly Putt Two-Tone and Poly Putt Two-Tone Light, I recommend the following:

  • Use SGW’s clean #60mesh Putting Green infill. Try to avoid using an infill that is dusty and powder-like.
  • Invest in a good drop spreader. Most supply houses carry “Scott Drop Spreaders” which cost approximately $60. A good drop spreader will allow the infill to be evenly distributed.

During the infill process, make sure pass with the drop spreader is consistently placing an equal amount of infill onto the surface.

To evenly distribute infill, spread the infill going east-to-west, then north-to-south. Repeat this until all of the calculated infill is placed and has reached the top of the surface where it is visible to the naked eye. For the top dressing, I recommend SGW’s Envirofill (small) which will produce a beautiful green appearance. It will also allow a faster ball speed.

Once you have finished your final sweep, about 1/32 inch of turf should be exposed.

infill-picsAfter the infill top layer in completed, use a water hose with a good nozzle and spray down the entire putting green surface. This will assist the infill to settle in place and bring out the putting green’s surface color.

Your putting greens will look amazing and last longer! Avoid these common mishaps with putting greens and install them wrinkle-free. Stay tuned for next month’s ‘Ask J.W.’ installment!

For more information, contact J.W.: or call 888.846.3598


Ask JW: Staples vs. Glue

The most important part of the installation process is seaming two sections of synthetic turf together. This month I will be explaining why this skill is important as well as which tools to utilize within the installation in conjunction with the many types of sub grade materials.

Critical Terms to Remember:

  • Caliche -(ka-lee’-chee) a sedimentary rock, a hardened natural cement of calcium carbonate that binds other materials—such as gravel, sand, clay, and silt.
  • Rockbound – bouldered, inflexible, hard, stone-like
  • Clay – a type of heavy soil when becomes wet and hardens when it dries
  • Loam – soil composed of a mixture of sand, clay, silt and organic matter.
  • Sand – a loose pale brown substance that you find at a beach or in the desert, formed from very small pieces of rock
  • Silt – sand, dirt and very small rocks that are carried from one place to another by moving water
  • Subsurface groundwater flow – when the soils become saturated due to water intrusion.

If the sub grade soil contains any of the materials listed above, I recommend the seam tape and glue method. By utilizing staples for installation involving the harder subgrade materials, the staples will bend due to the subgrade’s unpliable characteristics and will subsequently cause the turf seam to move. The results will be visible to the eye, so try to avoid staples if the subgrade materials are listed above.

If the soil consists of a soft dirt-like loam, sand or silt, I recommend using the seam tape and glue method, as well. Seams will move over time due to the soils integrity, especially when there is sub-surface groundwater intrusion.

Please Refer to the Products List Below:


This product is a double-sided non-adhesive seam tape that has superior tensile strength, shear and tear resistance. Our seam tape is 12 inches wide and has a plastic film on one side to prevent ground moisture effecting the curing process.

See picture below.

The adhesive should be applied to the dull side of the tape. Synthetic Grass Warehouse seam tape works great for any synthetic turf seaming process. Seam tape is available at any custom length with a maximum length of 328 feet per roll.


SGW nails are available as five and six-inch non-galvanized nails that will absorb moisture and bond to the existing sub grade over time to further secure the turf.


Much like the staples you use to secure paper together, our flat-topped 11-inch gauge staples are much larger and serve a greater purpose in a synthetic turf installation. Often used in the install process as a substitute for glue and seaming tape (when sub grade materials are stable and compacted at approximately 80%), these staples save time with the install process and eliminate the possibility of disfiguring the fibers.


SGW offers two types of turf adhesive: Superseam Regular and Superseam Pro.

This product is a high-performance one-part polyurethane adhesive that is applied to the dull side of seaming tape. After the turf adhesive is applied to the seam tape, I recommend placing infill bags or weight on top of the seam for at least 1 hour to allow compression. The adhesive needs to reach between the gauges underneath the backing.

***LET’S BEGIN!***

Seaming with Staples

When implementing the staples method, make sure your seam is placed together properly as discussed in my May 2015 column: “The Most Recognized Problem in the Synthetic Turf Industry Today: Seams.”

The staples must be a minimum of 4 inches apart down the seam. If they are secured any farther away, the staples cause the turf to “ripple” when the temperatures become hot. Make sure you drive the staple down to the base of the turf’s backing. Add nails in for extra support, as well. Avoid driving the staple down too hard as it will not only create a divot, but it will also cause the seam connection to “lift.”

Seaming with Seam Tape & Glue

If you decide to use the seam tape and glue method, make sure you get both sections of turf together and secure the outside of seam approximately 15 inches with nails (you may pull them after the glue has cured) then place weight on top of the seam for compression for about an hour. If you are using a power broom, always wait until the glue is cured to avoid unnecessary damage or cause the seam to fold.

A rule of thumb: ALWAYS power broom or FIBRILATE your turf parallel to the turf seam. If the turf is power broomed perpendicular to the seam, this will also fold up any area of the seam that is not fully cured.

Do not take any chances! Find out the sub grade conditions prior to any seam installation and choose to use either staples and nails or seam tape and glue for your seaming process.

Stay Tuned for Next Month’s “Ask J.W.” Installment!

For more information contact J.W.: or call 888.846.3598

Ask JW: The Most Recognized Problem in the Synthetic Turf Industry Today: Seams

As the synthetic turf industry incorporates more technologically advanced yarns along with denser more realistic products, it becomes more critical to properly seam turf pieces together.

The design changes have made the process of seaming turf more difficult to hide the two connecting sections of synthetic turf. This month I will educate you about how to install a straight seam by utilizing the Superseam tool.

Critical Terms to Remember:

  • Undetectable: not easily seen, barely able to be perceived
  • Subgrade Soil Stability: the underlying soils being of quality, firm and steadfast
  • Compaction: An increase in the density of something
  • Scrim: the backing of a synthetic turf roll that extends beyond the fibers of each side of the roll
  • Gauge: an outline of rows of tufted fibers stitched into the backing of synthetic turf rolls.
  • Dense Yarn/Fiber Pressure: Increase in density of yarn/fiber creating pressure
  • Synthetic Turf Seam Integration: the action of forming two sections of synthetic turf together to unify as one
  • Seam Reflection: the dynamics of light (sunlight) creating the connected seam to be visible
  • Adhesive Seam Compression: pressure that is applied to seaming area of two sections of synthetic turf onto adhesive glue and seaming tape


Subgrade Soil Stability and its Involvement to a Successful Seam:

soil compactionIt is very important that soils or grading materials that are placed under the synthetic turf be of quality and can reach approximately 80 percent compaction. Compaction is accomplished by vibrating, tamping and rolling the sub-base materials. This establishes a solid base in which to drive the nails while installing the turf.

Common failures to seam ruptures are caused by underlying soils not being of quality, form and steadfast. Substandard subgrade materials that are unstable cause the underlying subgrade to expand and/or contract.

For Example: Soils that have extensive water intrusion, expansive properties, high in fines, low in aggregate, will cause instability. This may cause the seam to move and separate.

Straight Seaming:


It is always recommended to secure and install the seam first prior to cutting the edges and completing the rest of the installation process.

When you roll out the synthetic turf, you will notice the backing of the synthetic turf extends beyond the fibers on each side. This part is called the “Scrim.” Prior to seaming, it is recommended to remove the scrim material unless you plan to sew the seam.

With playgrounds or fields, it is advised to remove the spikes, nails or staples after the seam glue has cured. Nails and staples can work themselves out of the soil and cause injury.

turf-scrim straight seam turf-carpet knife

Make sure you acknowledge the measurement between the gauges before you remove the scrim. If the synthetic turf is manufactured with a 3/8” gauge width, then you will want to connect the two section s of the turf together and keep the 3/8” gauge width during the entire seaming process.

If the synthetic turf is manufactured with a ¾” gauge width, then you will want to connect the two sections of turf together and keep this ¾” gauge width during the entire seaming process. This ensures accurate integration without the seam being too close or too far apart.

Please note: The gauge width dimension is from fiber row to fiber row, so when you are seaming the two sections together, you are connecting them per the manufacture’s gauge dimensions. You can find the gauge specifications for each product on the Synthetic Grass Warehouse web site as well as their particular spec sheets.

If the distance between the fiber rows is spaced too wide, not only will the seam be visible, but it will also become very noticeable once you place your infill materials into the synthetic fibers.

Take a sharp turf/carpet knife and cut between the second or third gauges from the edge “Scrim.” Do not cut into the fibers or too close to the fiber row, as this will cause the fibers to fall out from aggressive foot traffic. By cutting two-to-three rows in from the edge of the scrim, this will give the new seam integrity, strength and a fresh edge.

When both sections are placed together at the proper seam width, secure both sections with spikes, nails or staples approximately 18 inches on both sides of the seam. This will prevent both sections from moving while constructing the seaming process and will allow both sections to be folded over for placement of seaming tape.


Depending on the preference, installers may either secure the seam with spikes, staples or nails down the seam edge in a “stitch” pattern.

Always remember: The larger the head of the nail, the more visible the seam will be. Make sure to spread the fibers to allow the head of the nail to pass through the fibers to the base of turf backing or your will create divots by trapping the fibers with the nail heads. This must be a common practice on every nailing procedure.


glue-2 glue-1 glue-3

I strongly recommend placing the adhesive glue on the seam tape early in the morning or late afternoon to prevent yarn shrinkage. The heat of the day will not only cause the seam to expand and contract, it will also cause the synthetic turf glue to set up too quickly or bubble/seep through the seam. You may learn more about yarn shrinkage on the SGW website.

When both sections of synthetic turf are secure and the seam is perfectly in place, fold open both edges of the two sections to expose the subgrade. Place SGW seam tape down the center of the seam and secure with spikes, nails or staples. This will prevent the seam tape from rippling while placing the glue.

**Please note: SGW seam tape is manufactured with a plastic film on one side. This side should be face down and resting on the subgrade materials. The plastic film prevents moisture coming up through the seam tape, which may cause failure. **

SGW carries the best synthetic adhesive on the market today. Superseam Pro withstands freezing temperatures and remains strong and flexible in addition to preventing seam rupture, even during the hottest days.

Place SGW Superseam Adhesive Glue evenly on the seam tape at approximately 1/8” thick.

Depending on preference, installers may either secure the seam with spikes, staples or nails to secure the seam edge in a stitch pattern.

I have always been a firm believer of placing infill bags or weight on top of the seam after gluing for approximately 30 minutes. This will allow for proper compression to allow adhesive/glue to reach the entire backing between the gauges/stitch rows.

REMEMBER: After installing and gluing seams on days with a higher temperature, always inspect the installed seam throughout the curing process. This will prevent the adhesive to bubble/seep up through the seam and drainage holes.



With advanced technology, research and development, synthetic turf manufacturers are creating thicker more realistic artificial grass. These fiber density design changes have made turf seams more difficult to hide in addition to connecting two turf sections. Synthetic turf comes in different styles and thicknesses which changes the seaming process for each product.

The Superseamer tool was invented by myself after experiencing the dreaded turf “Mohawk.” When synthetic turf manufacturers began incorporating the thatch layer (curly fibers between the straight fibers), hiding turf seams became more difficult.

mohawk effect-pic-caption


Many installers would over-fibrillate to hide the seam, but would make it worse by manipulating which consequentially dulled the turf and made the seam more visible.

After studying how seams are integrated together, I found that “pressure” was the culprit. Once the scrim is removed, the pressure from the thatch caused the turf fibers to hang outward and when both sections were seamed together, it created the “Mohawk” effect.

The Superseam tool is not for every seam installation, however, when you are installing synthetic turf that has a 50 ounce face weight or greater, don’t take the chance and regret it later. The Superseam tool is available in 6’ and 4’ lengths and can be ordered with a connector bracket. The connector bracket allows the installer to connect multiple Superseam tools together for more efficient seams.

Stayed tuned for next month’s installment of ‘Ask J.W.!’ For more information, contact J.W.: or call 888.846.3598


Joe Wadkins Gallery

SGW has brought the industry’s most experienced synthetic grass expert, Joe Wadkins, to our team as your go-to synthetic grass installation professional! While representing SGW, Joe will feature his synthetic grass installation tips, tricks and techniques backed by 24+ years of experience, innovative designs and extensive synthetic grass knowledge.