It is that time of year again for the important practice of greens aerification. Aerification is done to control organic matter, stimulate root growth and improve drainage. It also relieves soil compaction and reduces the accumulation of excess thatch on the greens.
We do this to help maintain the great conditions our maintenance crew have provided to us over the last few months. In the immediate 7-14 days following aerification, the greens are recovering and the turf is becoming healthier. This healing process makes playing conditions less than perfect for those initial days but leads back to quality putting surfaces that are more consistent throughout the year. This spring we will aerify the greens on 9 holes a day on March 22-23 (weather permitting), allowing 9 holes to be open for play each day.
When it comes to health and quality of putting greens, it starts below the surface where the roots require oxygen and good water flow. Without aerification organic matter would remain in the greens, the roots of the grass would become dense and unable to flourish. This buildup acts like an impermeable surface that does not allow water to flow through. Excessive organic matter beneath the turf creates a soft playing surface that is prone to ball marks and footprints which results in inconsistent playing conditions.
The process starts with the aerifying machine removing cores from the compacted soil. In the case of this spring’s aerification, we will be removing ½ inch cores, a very common industry standard size. Following the aerification, the greens will be topdressed. Once the organic matter has been removed, the sand is then brushed into the holes which allows for excess moisture to evaporate creating a stronger root system which allows for a smoother, firmer putting surface that is more tolerate to high golfer traffic on the greens. While the appearance of topdress sand makes it seems that the greens are less playable in the short-term, the sand actually makes the surface smoother for putting immediately following the aerification as well.
Thank you for keeping in mind that aerification is performed for the long-term health of the greens, making the short-term inconvenience to putting well worth it.
Assistant General Manager