Agronomy Weekly: Aerification

Aerification is always an undesirable practice that many golfers hate, but golf course superintendents look forward to.  We are very thankful for your understanding during this period as we are able to accomplish much more than the normal aerification.  In this Agronomy Weekly, I will detail what has been done over the past two days and what to expect going into next week.


All greens were quadruple vertical mowed.  This removes the lateral stems (stolons) that bermudagrass is known for.  This growth pattern is why you see more grain in bermuda greens than in bentgrass.  These vertical blades cut these stems and pull the longer ones to the surfaces as seen in the top left picture below. 

After the greens were vertical mowed, we followed behind with a triplex mower and scalped off all the excess material.  This removes any of the stolons that were brought to the surface.  We then followed behind with the aerifier set at a 3-inch depth and 1.5-inch spacing.  We used a .25-inch coring tine.  The cores were removed, and all other debris blown from the green.  After all material was removed, we were able to use a roller to smooth the bubbled surfaced caused by the aerifier.  Once rolled, we topdressed greens heavily to fill all the holes as well as fertilized the greens to speed up the grow-in process.

All greens were watered in, and we used a drag to try and fill all the holes.  On Wednesday morning, we used rollers to further smooth the surface before play.  There will be a need for heavier than normal topdressing over the next week to make sure all holes are properly filled.  Next Monday, we will vertical mow the greens again with a less aggressive approach to remove more grain.  

Teeing Grounds:

We were able to topdress all tees over the past two day.  This will help dilute the existing thatch layer and also aid in the leveling of the tees.  Next week, we plan to aerify all the tees as well as topdress again.  All tees are being mowed at .550 inches.

Meyer Zoysia Fairways:

We were able to aerify all of the fairways over the past two days.  Because we used a solid tine, you will not encounter any sand in the fairways.  This process will be repeated next week to many of the weaker areas in fairways as well as followed by spot fertilization.  All fairways are being mowed at .550 inches.  As you can see in the picture below, the fairways have responded well to the rainfall as well as the granular fertility application last week.  


Palisades Zoysia Rough:

The rough has exploded.  After a slow spring this year, we had to push the rough to grow in many areas.  We are seeing these areas respond well, and the grass starting to grow in many of the areas of concern.  We will continue to push them with spot fertility as well as spot aerification.  As you can see in the picture below, we are aggressively growing and mowing large amounts of grass each week.  In time we feel all the areas will properly heal in.

All 90 acres of Palisades Zoysia will be slit tined with an Aerway next week.  After the next mowing, you will not notice any disruption to the turf.  We will do this process over the next several Mondays in many of the weaker and high traffic areas.

Other Course Projects:

On Monday, we were able to complete the installation of the new well pump and motor.  The new pump is pumping 1,300 gallons per minute in the lake.  This will not make an immediate impact to the lake level until we are able to complete shut off the irrigation for several days.  We are hoping to receive some rainfall in the later part of the week that will allow us to do this.

We also started removing the sod and sand sub-soil area located on the south practice tee.  This area has consistently been difficult to keep turf alive because the depth of sand in the hill.  You will notice us working in this area this week.  Our plans are to fill the hole with topsoil and re-grass with bermudagrass.

Without disruption from play, we were able to start inspecting the sink hole on No. 7 in more depth.  As we located the pipe, we noticed it was completely crushed.  This is causing the water draining from the high side of the pipe to wash the underneath soil away, forcing the area above to sink.  Once we determined the necessary approach in fixing the issue, we decided to postpone the reconstruction of this area.  We do not feel like this is something our staff can complete in a timely manner at this point in the year while addressing other areas of the course.  We will fill the area in and re-grass it for now allowing play to continue on this hole as normal.  We will address the issue this winter in order to lessen the disruption of play on No. 7.  

We appreciate your patience during this necessary process.  We look forward to the progression of the course after this aerification and continuing the process next week.  As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at (901) 201-0320 or

Best wishes,

Scott J. Newman

Golf Course Superintendent