Aerification is one of the biggest undertakings on a golf course. We complete this project three times a year to keep the course in optimum condition. Our most recent aerification project was one of those times when the stars align and everything comes together for a smooth and efficient execution.
This success is mainly attributed to the fantastic maintenance crew. They are like a well oiled machine with their teamwork and experience harmonizing during this process. The other huge factor in this success is the weather (how often do you hear of weather being a good thing in August in Texas?!?) The course got 1/4 inch of rain about 8 hours before the project began and temperatures for the last two days have been in the mid to upper 80s. These factors softened the ground and cooled things off just enough to make the aerification process much less labor intensive.
Aerification of the greens involves punching (small metal tines remove cylinder shaped ‘plugs’ (areas of turf), recovering the plugs (small dirt cylinders filled with roots) through a sweeping process, relocating the plugs to areas of the course that need additional grass, blowing debris off the greens, applying fertilizer, applying sand, brushing greens to incorporate sand and then finally, watering.
Aerification of the fairways, tee boxes and areas around the greens involves a few steps less because of the location/proximity to play. The areas are punched and a large instrument is dragged over the area to collect plugs, they plugs are collected for use in other areas, and then throughout the week the areas will be verticut and mowed.
This is a detailed process that involves a high level of coordination and skill. Having a maintenance team that is skilled, experienced, and in sync with each other is essential to success. They all operate as gears within the machine and if one has a glitch, the whole machine malfunctions.
As a golf course superintendent, having a maintenance team that operates as a well oiled machine is a true gift.