Green Aerification: A necessary evil for golf courses
Just when the greens on your home course start getting fast and rolling smooth, it seems like the golf course superintendent purposely messes them up by punching and sanding them. Golf course maintenance can be frustrating for golfers.
The other day, I played my home course with some friends and we had to endure bumpy, shaggy and sandy greens because they had just been aerated. Our greens, it seemed, had only just recovered from the spring aerification and now they were doing it again. Core aeration (also know as aerification, aerating or aerifying) is a maintenance practice that promotes healthy turf growth, especially in compacted surfaces such as putting greens. A machine, known as an aerifier, removes 3 to 5 inch long cores of turf and soil.
The removal of cores, allow water, air and nutrients from the top dressing to reach the soil roots, thereby enhancing growth. It is the responsibility of the golf course superintendent to maintain a good stand of grass on putting greens. Greens are the bread and butter of a golf course and the reputation of a course and the superintendent who maintains it is often determined by the condition of the greens.
Ideally, the greens should be punched once a month during the growing season or summer months, but due to profit margins and golf course politics, most courses only aerify greens twice during the growing season, sometimes compromising the conditions of the greens for the sake of more play. So don’t curse the course superintend this fall when you have to play on top-dressed greens and instead, thank him for taking good care of your course.
When greens are bumpy and sandy you need to make a few adjustments in your short game technique. First, take a more lofted club to hit pitches and chip shots. Second, swing back longer and accelerate through to a higher finish to get the ball up and spinning. The ball will not roll on shaggy greens, so you are better off carrying the ball close to the hole and letting it stop quickly with a minimal amount of roll.
Believe it or not, putting is a lot easier on sanded, shaggy greens. Since the greens are slow you can hit putts aggressively, not having to worry that the ball will roll too far past the hole. Make a conscious effort to stroke your putt to the back of cup. Forget about lagging long putts to the holes, you will leave the well short, try to make them. You may have one of your best putting rounds.
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Isn't the word aeration?
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