AERATION, THE MOST HATED WORD IN GOLF
Luke Knutson - Rockville Links Club
Aeration of the greens is never popular with golfers, but it is also when the foundation is set for a successful season. The benefits realized drive superintendents to endure the complaints, stress, strain and difficulties to perform the task regardless. Many courses throughout the area have or will aerate their greens. This temporary inconvenience is one of the busiest weeks of the year for the Superintendent and staff. Aeration is very important because it removes material (sometimes), relieves compaction, dilutes and/or removes thatch, and creates uniform channels for sand. While doing this, it also allows for greater air and water exchange with the soil. The open channels also allow for the addition of soil amendments and sand.
All of this leads to better soils, soil structure, improved rooting, and most importantly healthier, more resilient turf. Why should the golfer care? Healthier turf delivers a better playing surface that is more prepared to take on all the traffic and stress put on it over the next few busy months from both daily maintenance and golfers.
Different Types of Aeration:
• Hollow tine or core: Removes a plug from the surface.
• Solid and deep tine: Creates the hole and does not remove material. Many different sizes and depths are used.
• Dryject: Contracted machine that shoots high pressure water into the ground creating suction that fills the hole created with sand.
• Drill and Fill: Machine that uses large drill bits to create a deep channel into the green, and then backfills the hole with sand.
Check out this great video that highlights some area courses and what they do to prepare for the golf season. It also shows many different types of aeration.
Aeration is always a long week for the staff and will always be disliked by the golfer. The timing of aeration is usually dictated by the club’s schedule or by weather, and that leads to the variety of times and type of aeration. Remember this inconvenience makes the course a little better each and every time it is done. Try to focus on the rest of your game until the greens heal back and get ready to enjoy another great golf season.