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Aerated greens are disappointing


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I can't imagine anyone that enjoys playing on aerated greens, but it is really disappointing when you look forward to playing a course all week only to arrive and find out the greens were aerated recently.  Played this past week on a course I really like and found the greens had been punched recently.  The greens were very bumpy and you couldn't figure out speed and even get the putt to roll correctly - resulting in a few more strokes for the round and feeling disappointed.  I know it's a necessary maintenance item for courses and the courses should really tell you the greens have been aerated, but aside from that it just it is so disappointing, especially when you are playing pretty well but can't score with the greens being punched.  Just a quick venting session.

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sucks even worse if it's like a resort course you were waiting to play. When i played the Norman Course in Bahamas (really great track) the first few days i was there the greens were covered in sand.

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A lot of the courses in my area will send out emails when they punch. I think that's a nice little touch. At least you can prepare yourself for not being able to score. 

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2 hours ago, MtlJeff said:

sucks even worse if it's like a resort course you were waiting to play. When i played the Norman Course in Bahamas (really great track) the first few days i was there the greens were covered in sand.


TPC Harding Park was like this the first time I played it, like "we should have gotten 50% off the greens fees" kind of bad. 

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Had a miracle happen a few weeks ago - the course where my 9 hole league is had punched their greens on both courses over a 2 week span. And the first time we played post-punching, they gave us a $5 discount! I was floored, no course has ever done this for me. And especially this course which does not really have a history of a customer-oriented attitude. 

 

And given their greens were pretty awful over the past 2 seasons, the punched greens weren't really that bad. 🙂

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I played on a course in Burlington, IA the last two years on a buddy trip. I would put those greens in the top 2 of all the courses I have played, (over 200).  The pro claims they punch the greens every other Monday with really small holes, think he said 1/4", and top dress. I am skeptical of this, but the greens were really good.

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I mostly play club golf, but I can't I have ever had a course not tell me that why are punching ro just punched when I book. Either on their online booking section or if I called to book. 

 

Kind of crappy if they don't tell you. 

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11 hours ago, MtlJeff said:

sucks even worse if it's like a resort course you were waiting to play. When i played the Norman Course in Bahamas (really great track) the first few days i was there the greens were covered in sand.

 

This. Remember going to Myrtle Beach when I was younger. Family didn't have much money. First trip we ever took. My dad and I had a couple tee times booked for cheap, and one that was definitely a splurge. Yep, the course we splurged on had just aerated. 

 

Still enjoyed the day with my dad, but it was definitely a disappointment for both of us. 

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15 hours ago, Loki said:

I played on a course in Burlington, IA the last two years on a buddy trip. I would put those greens in the top 2 of all the courses I have played, (over 200).  The pro claims they punch the greens every other Monday with really small holes, think he said 1/4", and top dress. I am skeptical of this, but the greens were really good.

With those 1/4" holes and the right amount of top dress you'd probably not even notice, especially by Wednesday.  When our course does this you can't tell and it does not affect the roll at all.  

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Makes me recall back in the late 80s, maybe early 90s the Mrs and I went to Grand Cypress Resort for some golf and fun.

 

They happened to me aerating one of the courses, which was very playable, they had a Zamboni looking thing that ground up the plugs in the fairways, greens were sanded but they must have rolled them.

 

Depending on time of year and where you are playing, always good to inquire when greens are being aerated.  Our home course and many here in DFW post on their website and/or send emails advising when greens are to be aerated.

 

Frustrating as it may be, necessary evil, and the greens play the same for everyone each day.

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On 5/18/2022 at 8:21 PM, Loki said:

I played on a course in Burlington, IA the last two years on a buddy trip. I would put those greens in the top 2 of all the courses I have played, (over 200).  The pro claims they punch the greens every other Monday with really small holes, think he said 1/4", and top dress. I am skeptical of this, but the greens were really good.


Solid tining, we do it 4-6x a year. Deeper than when we pull cores but the times are on 1/8”. Even without a top dress you wouldn’t know the day after, at least roll wise. 
 

If you ask most Supers, the day after a top dress is the ideal day to play. 

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On 5/18/2022 at 12:05 PM, Abh159 said:

Happens every spring and fall... If I'm booking a round at an unfamiliar course and it's that time of year I always ask about the aerification schedule. 

This sucks ...  you shouldn't have to ask. Courses should tell you up front. It's like going to an amusement park and finding out half the rides are shut down.

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On 5/18/2022 at 12:11 PM, getitdaily said:

From about now until October/Nov there's 1 thing you have to do before booking a round...

 

Ask - When are greens scheduled to be punched/top dressed?

 

Yes!  In late Spring and early Fall (could differ depending on location) the onus is on the golfer to ask.  Otherwise, be prepared for a surprise.  In my area most courses will give a discounted rate for a while after aeration.  

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On 5/18/2022 at 10:21 PM, Loki said:

I played on a course in Burlington, IA the last two years on a buddy trip. I would put those greens in the top 2 of all the courses I have played, (over 200).  The pro claims they punch the greens every other Monday with really small holes, think he said 1/4", and top dress. I am skeptical of this, but the greens were really good.

 

Maybe hydrojetting.

https://blog.standrews.com/2019/08/28/what-is-hydrojecting/

 

Top dressing lightly helps the crown stand up straight and fills in small bumps to help with keeping the green rolling smooth.  Also helps to slow the build-up of thatch and keeps water and air moving down into the soil profile.

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On 5/19/2022 at 8:28 PM, mallrat said:

 

If you ask most Supers, the day after a top dress is the ideal day to play. 

Hmmm...

My thoughts are just the opposite.  Seems like the day after top dressing is the worst day to play. The sand on the greens can knock a ball offline when it slows down. Also, when there's dampness, like dew in the morning, the ball picks up a lot of that sand, which slows it down.  All those books on how to putt... somebody needs to add a chapter on how to putt on top dressed greens.

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Many years ago I was almost ready to book a round at Pebble Beach, damn the expense full speed ahead...

 

...until a friend warned me they were punching the greens the day before I was hoping to play there. For what it's worth, nobody at Pebble mentioned a word about it when I called to inquire about getting a tee time. 

 

That's a waste of $400 avoided.

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Posted (edited)

Now you need to damn the expense, pay almost $200 more, and still play that hallowed ground.

 

P.S.  They should have told you.  It's an honor to play there but not on greens that Arnie, Jack and Mr. Hogan didn't have to play on.

Edited by Double Mocha Man

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On 5/20/2022 at 12:04 AM, TexasTurf said:

I agree. But dead greens are worse. If you want perfect greens you are going to have to deal with aerification and recovery. Our course record was shot the day after aerification, because if done right, it's actually the easiest and most predictable the course will ever play. 


I’ve actually had some good rounds on punched greens. But it’s been at my home club which does the hydrojecting. The holes from that process don’t seem too bad. If anything, they seem to keep most putts on line. I just cut the predicted usual break in half, and that seems to work.

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Done properly, aeration should not produce terrible green condition.   Holes should be filled completely by brushing or caning and then watered and re-dressed to further fill the holes, and then rolled. The resulting greens are not perfect, but very puttable.  Several good YouTube videos on green aeration.

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I have eight excellent golf courses within 20 miles of me. If one is aerating I can play another that isn't. In fact, they do a nice job of staggering that process. In part I think, because many of them rent the same expensive equipment and they can't all have it at the same time.

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