Monday & Tuesday we finished Aerifying the greens on the course. This process is never “fun” and obviously no one wants to have bumpy, sandy greens! If we had a choice, we wouldn’t do it, but we have to. It is imperative to the health of the greens and allows us to have healthier, fuller, softer greens. They will be more receptive and give a more true roll when they are healthy.
Basically, we remove a 1.25 inch “core” of dirt, every 3 inches, cover the holes with sand to help create an oxygen rich soil, as air and water can now get deeper into the roots, making for a more healthy plant. We then apply fertilizer so it can reach these same roots and stimulate the growth process. This also allows us to reduce the “compaction” of the soil. When the soil is compacted, the grass roots struggle to breathe. Think about how many footsteps are on any given green at a golf course. The average golfer will take about 45 steps on any green. So to get a number of steps on a green any given day, we need to multiply 45 times the foursome that is playing in that group. That makes 180 steps per foursome. Now, multiply 180 times the number of foursomes that play on that course per day (about 72 foursomes). That is 12,960 steps per day on each green. To the extreme, multiply that, times the days in the year, 365. That’s equals over 4.7 million steps! Now think about all of the equipment that is used in maintaining the greens throughout the year. Some of these pieces of machinery can weigh over a half ton. Run a mower over a green 180 times a year and that is an additional 180,000 pounds of compression per year. Compacted? I would say so.
As ironic as it could be, the best time for aeration is when the grasses are at their strongest. This is also when we, the golfers, love the greens the most. When the grasses are at their strongest is also when they are able to heal at the fastest they can. This only makes sense. If you could not heal a broken leg in the winter, then why break it in the winter?
This is just one of the many maintenance practices employed by the course superintendent to improve the quality of a golf course. It is also the most despised by golfers. While this activity of maintenance is undertaken at times to cause the least possible delay, it is nonetheless crucial to protecting the golf course.
So thank you for your understanding and patience during the “healing” process. We run some extra water, fertilize and roll them daily so they can be back and to rolling true and quick in the shortest amount of time possible!