Spring Aerification

We all know that aerification is a sensitive subject for golfers but, I feel with the proper information and education there can be a better understanding of why we do it and how it benefits the playing experience throughout the season.
This year, we tried something different at Gold Mountain.
In the past, we would punch a few small holes and then topdress the greens with a light layer of sand about a week later.
This season the whole process changed and we have seen great results.
We started with a heavy layer of sand, about as much as we typically use in the fall.
Followed then by punch the greens with 60 3/8″ solid tines, which is twice as many tines as normal.
After the punch, we waited for the sand to dry, which is a lot like watching paint dry.
It is essential to make sure the sand is completely dry, otherwise when we drag the greens the sand will seal off the holes and we won’t get sand into the profile.
Now is when the race begins.

First, we send a steel drag mat out to do an initial once over drag.
After that, we send our verticutting units set at 1/8″ to help work the sand into the profile.
Next, the brush drag mats make two or three laps around each green, which helps move even more sand into the profile.
Lastly, we take our heavy greens roller over them to smooth out any lumps or imperfections.
After this process is done the greens are ready for play.
They are not in mid-season form directly following this process, however they are in great shape considering everything we put them through over the day.

One day removed from aerification, I would say our greens are at least at 85% and should be back to 100% roughly seven to 10 days following.
This process is very important to producing the best possible playing conditions throughout the season.
It will allow us to provide fast, firm, fair, and true greens because it allows for gas exchange and water movement within our greens.
So, when you look back at the week following aerification when you are playing in July and the greens are perfect, remember to say thanks for punching them in May!

Patrick McKenzie
Superintendent
Gold Mountain Golf Club