Tis The Season For Aerating Greens

Tis The Season For Aerating Greens aeration infographic
USGA infographic on aeration. (click the image to embiggen)

Tis The Season For Aerating Greens

Late summer and early fall are prime time for aerating greens on the golf course. The University of Michigan golf course recently shut down for two days for aeration. Other courses remain open for play through the aeration process. With a good superintendent, the course usually is back up to par in a few days.

I play enough golf that I don’t mind a couple of days of irregular putting surfaces. For a player of my modest skills, I am not sure it makes that big a difference anyway.

If you want great greens all season long, coping with a couple of days of aeration is a small sacrifice.

Aeration is a vital part of keeping a golf course healthy. The process removes thatch, helping to relieve the buildup of harmful organic material. It also oxygenates the soil and promotes root growth.

Aeration is just one of many tasks — most of which go unnoticed — that the greenskeepers perform to keep your local course in ship shape. Much of it is done in the wee hours of the morning; by the time most golfers are teeing off, their work is done. As a habitual dewsweeper, however, I see and am able to appreciate much of the work that the greenskeepers do.

Here’s my completely heretical advice for playing on aerated greens: just give yourself any putt that you think you could make if the aeration holes were not there.

Or suck it up and putt it out. Tom Watson once shot a 58 at his home course when the greens were recovering from aerification.

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