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Playing conditions are crucial for most golfers and aeration is needed to keep turf healthy and playing well. Although it can be disruptive, the long-term benefits of aeration far outweigh this short-lived disruption. The greens may not play their best immediately, but keep in mind that everyone is playing the same conditions and golfers can still enjoy the game and make plenty of putts. Here’s some more information about aeration and why it is crucial for golf courses.
The primary reasons to aerate the greens is to relieve soil compaction and control thatch — organic matter that naturally builds up between the grass and roots. If organic matter becomes too thick, it begins to act like a sponge and holds water at the surface. This creates soft putting surfaces prone to ball marks, foot printing, and inconsistent playing conditions. In the long-term, excessive organic matter can inhibit root growth, reduce oxygen levels in the soil, encourage diseases, and eventually lead to death of the grass.
The process of aeration is the most effective way to control organic matter and maintain a smooth and firm putting surface.
What is the aeration process?
To aerate a golf green, a piece of machinery punches holes into the ground and removes the soil. These small holes are then filled with sand and left alone so that new grass can grow. Creating these holes allows excess water to evaporate and oxygen to penetrate the grass roots. This results in an improved root system and healthier greens.
When will the greens be back to normal?
The actual coring of the greens is a quick process, but from the time of the coring until the greens are somewhat back to normal can take a week or more. Signs of the aeration holes may remain on the putting greens for longer after that.
Check out this video to learn more about aeration.