Monday, July 12, 2021

Why Does the best golf course in Scottsdale Aerate So Much?

If you think about the amount of footsteps walked on a green each day… it’s a lot. The average golfer at the Scottsdale golf club

 will take about 45 steps on any green.  So to get a number of steps on a green any given day, we need to multiply 45 times the foursome that is playing in the group. That makes 180 steps per foursome.  Now, multiply 180 times the number of foursome that play on that course per day (about 72 foursomes).  That is 12,960 steps per day on each green.  To that extreme, multiply that, times the days in the year, 365. That equals over 4.7 million steps! Now think about all of the equipment that is used in maintaining the greens throughout the year.  Some of these pieces of machinery can weigh over a half ton. Run a mower over a green 180 times a year and that is an additional 180,000 pounds of compression per year.  Compacted? I would say so. 

Playing conditions at the Scottsdale golf club are of the utmost importance for most golfers, and aeration is needed to keep turf healthy and playing well.  Aeration can be disruptive, but the long-term benefits of aeration far outweigh the short-lived disruption.  The next time you play on greens that were recently aerated, keep in mind that aeration is performed for the long-term health of the course.  The greens may not play their best immediately following some aeration treatments, but everyone is playing the same conditions and golfers still can enjoy the game and make plenty of putts.  After all, Tom Watson once shot a 58 when playing at Kansas City Country Club just a few days after the greens had been aerified.

The word aeration stimulates negative emotions for many golfers. It may come as a surprise, but golf course superintendents also dislike aeration.  After all, the last person who wants to disrupt the smoothness of the putting greens they work so hard to maintain is the superintendent. 

Golfers often ask, “Why is aeration needed so often?”  Aeration is an essential program to keep playing surfaces healthy and in good condition.  Aeration primarily is performed at Scottsdale golf courses

 to control organic matter-i.e., decaying roots and grass stems- relieve soil compaction, stimulate root growth and improve drainage. If organic matter becomes too thick, it acts like a sponge and holds water at the surface after rain or irrigation.  Excessive organic matter also inhibits root growth, reduces oxygen levels in the soil, encourages disease and eventually can lead to turf failure. Furthermore, excessive organic matter creates soft surfaces prone to ball marks, foot printing and inconsistent playing conditions.  Aeration and topdressing are the most effective ways to control organic matter and maintain smooth, firm putting surfaces.

Core aeration at best golf course in Scottsdale involves physically removing small soil cores-e.g., 0.5-inch diameter cores- from the turf and is the most common type of aeration. Aeration hold allow excess moisture to evaporate and promote gas exchange in the soil, resulting in stronger root systems and turf that is better able to tolerate golfer traffic.

Proper timing at  Scottsdale golf courses of aeration will ensure the fastest possible recovery and return to smooth surface conditions. The key to a quick recovery is to perform aeration when the turf is healthy and actively growing.  There are many types of aeration that superintendents use throughout the season; some are more labor-intensive and disruptive to playing surfaces than others.  Less-disruptive forms of aeration, including venting aeration with small-diameter, solid tines, also are beneficial because they can alleviate turf stress by promoting oxygen levels in the soil. Aeration programs that have a small impact on a playing surface generally can be performed throughout the season with little or no disruption to play.

The dates chosen this year for aerification are July 6th- 15th. This will allow us to get the whole course aerified, cleaned up, top-dressed, and fertilized. The thought process behind the later dates this year is to be closer to monsoon season when we see higher dew points and humidity which is a necessity for optimum Bermuda grass growth for quicker recovery.