Thatch Legislation

By Brian Whitlark, agronomist, Southwest Region
January 18, 2011

(L)Thatch continues to accumulate and may increase to levels detrimental to both turf health and putting quality if not properly maintained.  (R) Labor intensive core aeration, followed by sand topdressing is essential to both remove thatch and organic matter and create channels for improved water and air exchange in the soil. 

If the highly partisan politicians can agree to pass tax legislation in such a short period of time, then surely the Green Committee and board members at your club can agree to pass thatch legislation!  Far too many golf course visits in 2010 raised the question -- can we forego aeration this year?  Unlike the slumbering economy the past two years, thatch never sleeps.  Thatch and organic matter continuously accumulate at the surface and within 1-2 inches below.  Removing organic matter and thatch through proper aeration techniques and verticutting, and dilution through topdressing, are absolutely necessary every year in almost all circumstances.  In addition, prudent use of fertilizers is important to produce healthy turf, but be sure to curb excessive thatch accumulation.

Courses that want to provide tournament-ready greens throughout the year must have a long-term thatch-management plan.  Remember that the short term disruption golfers must endure following aeration yields smoother, faster and more durable putting surfaces -- period.  In most cases, foregoing aeration for even one year will result in a significant increase in organic matter and thatch.  As such, catch-up maintenance practices must be employed the following year, which will be more disruptive than a proactive management strategy.  And worse, the putting surfaces will suffer.  They will be softer, more susceptible to deep pitch marks and scalping by mowers.  In 2011, manage thatch and organic matter proactively and enjoy better putting surfaces.


Source; Brian Whitlark, or 480-668-3368 

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