Fall golf in Michigan is accompanied by aerated greens. The goal of aeration is to ease compacted soil, and control the buildup of organic matter which soaks up too much water. If not relieved, root growth will suffer and grass diseases spread. It’s a necessary operation if greens are to be in top shape the next season.
It also doesn’t affect play for very long. A few days—a week—and the top dressing settles over and into the holes, returning to a relatively smooth surface.
That said, courses should warn players about aeration. On a recent road trip to play a new course for review, I was a little miffed to find that the greens had been aerated, but no warning issued.
As a courtesy to customers, courses should warn players making a tee time about the condition of the greens. It may cost a course a few tee times in the short run, but will generate good will in the long run.
Here’s a nice video on the aeration process: