Aeration is in the Air!

By Derf Soller, agronomist, Northwest Region
September 19, 2012

To improve playability on approaches simply core aerate them simultaneously with the putting greens.


Fall aeration has begun in earnest on many golf courses in the region. It seems that superintendents have been looking forward to fall aeration around here like children eagerly await Christmas. Many have been counting down the days.

So, there must be something to it? Some golf facilities are not pulling cores this fall (more often in fairways), as limited water availability keeps the potential for turf desiccation at the forefront. Conducting a solid tine venting can break up soil compaction, but it does not provide as much compaction relief nor does it do anything for the organic matter removal.

In addition to greens, tees and fairways, golf facilities are also encouraged to core aerate approaches to greens at the same time. Visits to courses last week in Montana and Wyoming were doing just that. Please take note of the photo which shows a golf course in Wyoming core aerating the approaches simultaneously with greens. This will improve playability and also remove excess organic material in the approaches. When approaches are firm like the putting greens, golfers are given the option to play shots into the approach and run it onto the green. “Bump-and-run” is a great shot selection for forward hole locations on firm putting surfaces, but only if the approaches are also firm.

Hopefully, all golf facilities will perform some sort of fall aeration and do it early enough to achieve complete turf healing prior to winter. Putting it off until too late in the fall can have negative consequences if undesirable weather conditions occur. With the Rules of Golf accounting for aeration holes on all playing surfaces, don’t be afraid to address aeration needs this fall. With good communication a “holey war” can be avoided!

If your Northwest region golf facility needs assistance in determining whether it needs more aeration, or help is wanted to explain aeration’s purpose and benefits to club officials, members or golfers, then please contactLarry Gilhuly, director, ( or Derf Soller, agronomist ( for more information or to schedule a visit. Wendy Schwertfeger, Administrative Assistant may also be reached for information at:  208.732.0280 or at


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