Why Aerification of Golf Courses Takes Place
Aerification achieves three important objectives:
- It relieves soil compaction;
- it provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green’s roots;
- and it reduces or prevents the accumulation of excess thatch.
When thinking about the quality of putting greens, you have to go below the surface, too. Deep, healthy roots are a necessity for healthy grass, something that is even more important when the grass is cut as low as it is on golf greens.
Good roots demand oxygen. In good soil, they get the oxygen from tiny pockets of air trapped between soil and sand particles.
Over time, the traffic from golfers’s feet (as well as mowing equipment) tends to compact the soil under the putting green – particularly when the soil contains a lot of clay. When soil becomes compacted, the air pockets on which the roots depend are crushed, and the roots are essentially left gasping for air. Without oxygen, the grass plants become weaker and will eventually wither and die.
Remember, legend Tom Watson shot a sizzling record 58 at his then-home course, Kansas City Country Club, just days after the greens had been aerified.