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Aerated Greens: How Long to Return to "Normal" Play?


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My home course was aerated just 2 weeks ago, and have pretty much recovered.  However, when we aerated in the spring it was closer to 4 weeks for complete recovery.  The difference, to my relatively uneducated mind, was that the Spring work was done as the grass was just beginning to grow after being mostly dormant for the winter.  The current aerification was done in peak growing season, so the recovery was much quicker.  

I've seen a lot of different methods for aerification, small to large tines, even water-jet based equipment.  A superintendent will choose different methods based on the current conditions of the greens.  A real quick search found this article explaining a bit of it.:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/clubhouse/2017-ungated/09-17-ungated/5-things-every-golfer-should-know-about-aeration.html#:~:text=We aerate to improve%2C not,and promoting healthy turf roots.



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On 5/30/2018 at 7:26 AM, jetsknicks1 said:

What’s wrong with calling a 2 putt? If you’re not playing in a tournament or using the score for HC purposes, what’s the harm? My regular group will call 2 putts from certain distances if the greens are in rough shape. As long as everybody is on board, I don’t see the problem.

I was so frustrated after a round at one of my local courses that I looked this up. The accepted rule is that if you're inside 20 feet, then call it a two putt. 

One writer described aerated greens as close to GUR, hence the rule. 

I'd describe the greens I referred to earlier as unplayable. You can almost never get a read, and even when you can, the ball is at the mercy of the bumps and punch-holes. The only seemingly viable solution I read about is to aim dead straight at the hole and hit the ball hard enough for it to go 3-4 feet past the hole. 

The rules of golf are as they should be, but there is no rule of golf that demands you voluntarily ruin your score. 

They call it golf because the other four-letter words were taken. – Ray Floyd

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Depends on the course conditions at the time, and the attitude of management towards those conditions. 

As well as the type of Aeration- small tine can be back to normal in a few days. Even most Muni's around here can be back to perfectly playable in just over 7/10 days after a full plug aeration. "Normal" conditions in about 2-3 weeks. 

I'm usually not all THAT bothered by aerated greens- especially at our usual courses, as long as they let you know before you go out. But If I show up at a new course that is more of a 'premium' course and pay full price and find aerated greens, I'd be a bit peeved. 


I'm not out to chase numbers so we go out and do the "2 putt" thing once we get inside a certain distance. Gimme's are stretched a bit to length of the putter, not just "inside the leather". But we do at least give it a go- just in case... 

Edited by RayG
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I'd say it depends upon who does it. They punched and sanded the greens last Monday. I played Friday PM. Friday morning they rolled the greens and they were playing a little slow in places, but mostly were better than they were the week before punching. Kemper Sports runs the course. I expect they'll be playing quite nice this week. 

When the greens are freshly sanded, we just play auto-two putt for a day or two. Scores are not reported.


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Worked on a course

1 week out they are pretty annoying still

2 weeks out they are not great but returning to normal

after 4 weeks they should be normal again may be up to 6 weeks before they are pristine / better than before though

Of course it depends on how good condition the greens were in before aerating, how well the team aerated and grated in the sand and what mother nature decides to do in the meantime. Drought conditions will exacerbate and overly moist conditions will cause other issues but generally cooler / wetter is better than hotter and dryer.

Edited by SullyGolf
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