Abstract: Be careful when installing soft golf cart paths made of aggregate and binder.
I’ve installed a few soft golf cart paths. The soft paving product consists of an aggregate material and a binder. The aggregate is known as stone dust or stone pack in Massachusetts. The binder is the glue that holds it together. One company uses a fish byproduct to bind the aggregate together. This binder keeps the product together without forming a hard surface. Be advised that this can create unpleasant wear issues on high traffic slopes and turns. The mixture will retain moisture and create problems on rainy days.
Construction details include the following:
- Install the base 6″ thick. The base is the foundation for the paving material and all roads have a solid base built of crushed aggregate or other native materials. Some install 4″ base courses, but I like the durability of a thicker foundation, especially in the Northeast where freezing conditions move material.
- Mixing of soft paving involves use of a pug mill, a large mechanical plant that includes a conveyor and a device to dispense binding compounds with the aggregate. Don’t mix the material in place. It won’t work. You’ll have a mushy top coat of aggregate.
- Install the paving with a sidewalk paver or by hand using wheelbarrows and skilled rakers. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for thickness, or lift. Install grade stakes with one foot offsets, and mark out the elevations of each lift. Connect each mark across the path to determine proper thickness. Most soft pavement is installed 2″ thick, and if you want a 4″ thickness you must go through the process twice. (The process involves installation and compaction with drying advised between lifts).
- Plan on patching and fixing washouts on the path. The material moves when wet, and a heavy rain will cause problems on slopes and sharp bends.
Soil mixing is another option for golf cart paths. I can’t call it soft golf cart paving; the mixture hardens to a rock-like density. Soil mixing uses dense grade, an aggregate product with 3/4″ or 1 1/2″ stone mixed in for durability. The product is mixed with #2 Portland cement, and the mixture is installed with a paver or by hand crew. This mixture can be installed dry, and used immediately. This surface will harden into an incredible resilient surface. You’ll need a jack-hammer to remove it.