The “One, Two Punch” for Putting Greens

By Todd Lowe, senior agronomist, Florida Region
May 26, 2011

A typical rootzone from a Florida putting green.  This green was aerated with ¾-inch hollow tines and is awaiting the second aeration once the holes are filled with sand. 


Golf courses in our region are beginning, or will soon begin, their summer aeration programs.  Soil cultivation is quite contentious with golfers, but is much needed on Florida golf courses at this time.

Florida putting greens accumulate a significant amount of organic matter.  The nearly 12-month growing season in some areas of Florida, and the quest for green conditioning, encourages rapid buildup of thatch and organic matter.  As a result, cultivation practices like core aeration, verticutting, and sand topdressing must be conducted to keep up with the pace of bermudagrass growth.

Most courses core aerate putting greens three to four times with 1/2-inch or larger hollow tines.  Ideally, the first aeration would occur in mid-May, with each subsequent aeration implemented every six weeks.  With so many corings, the most common complaint we hear on summer TAS visits is, “The aeration holes seem to be just healing, when the greens are punched yet once again.”

An innovative technique to improve putting green playability without sacrificing turf health is to double-core aerate.  Double aeration includes coring the greens, removing plugs, backfilling holes with sand, and then performing this same operation in a slightly different direction the next day.  Large diameter tines (3/4-inch) are often used with this operation to increase sand incorporation into the rootzone and to dilute organic matter.  When large tines are used, putting greens generally require only two double corings each summer.

Double aeration can significantly reduce the number of closings for core aeration.  Courses that normally close three or more times each summer can reduce to twice each summer with double aeration when large tines are used.  Also, it allows the golf course to be open throughout most of May, a time when many courses allow reciprocal play.

The downside to double aeration is that it just takes more time (10 to 14 days) to recover.  Many golf course superintendents take advantage of the closure by performing other necessary practices like cultivation (verticutting, scalping, aeration) of tees, fairways and roughs, or additional projects like tree pruning and drainage/irrigation improvements in the absence of golfers.  Summer months are slow for most Florida golf courses, and closure is more acceptable at this time of year, especially when it improves playability and reduces the number of aerations.


Source:  Todd Lowe, or 941-828-2625 


Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image