Green Coring – Tuesday 9th March

Published on 23rd February 2021 in Golf News

Our course will be closed on Tuesday 9th March for Green Coring. 

For those who are not aware of the reason we core our greens, read on.  

Not all golfers are aware of the reason we core our greens, and we suspect there are very few golfers out there who are happy that the golf course is about to undergo maintenance. 

Not surprisingly, it seems the majority of golfers consider coring or core aeration to be more correct, as an extremely inconvenient interruption to their golf, not to mention how much the resulting bumpy greens for the following weeks can frustrate even the calmest of golfers! 

Perhaps that’s why the golfers seem to think that coring is just an evil plot, hatched by course superintendents across the world, to get back at the golfers, as a sort of revenge for digging up their course the rest of the year!!

The reality is that core aeration is simply a short term disruption that has long term benefits for golf courses.  

Without a regular program of core aeration the surface of the greens would dramatically worsen over a few years and if not dealt with they would eventually die.  One of the biggest problems that golfers have with this maintenance is that the best time to do the core aeration is generally around the time that all the golfers want to be playing on the course, just as Spring is starting, and the golfers are excited about the prospect of golf, as is the case here at Flinders or in Autumn, just as golfers are winding down knowing that their games are numbered before Winter comes. 

Sadly,  best time to core greens is almost always just as most greens are in their prime playing condition.  This is possibly why it upsets so many golfers, as putting on good greens is way more fun than navigating cored greens isn’t it?

So, to help you to deal with this disappointing aspect of the game, which as much as you may wish it didn’t happen, is an absolutely critical part of managing the golf course, we thought we’d attempt to explain exactly why it has to happen: 

In brief, the main goal of core aeration is to produce healthy greens.  Which, ultimately is good for all the golfers isn’t it? 

The condition of a green for golfers is normally judged by what they can see on top.  For Colin and his staff however, it has a lot to do with what goes on below the surface.  In order for grass to grow well it must have deep, healthy roots.  

Green coring: In order for grass to grow well it must have deep, healthy roots. Good roots demand a good supply of oxygen,
which core aeration helps to achieve but it’s more than just a way to supply oxygen to the soil.

Good roots demand a good supply of oxygen which core aeration helps to achieve, but it’s more than just a way to supply oxygen to the soil, it turns out it has a couple more important objectives:

  1. It relieves soil compaction.  This happens over time due to the traffic from golfers’ feet as well as course equipment.  All that walking around on the greens tends to compact the soil underneath which crushes the air pockets on which the roots rely on for a supply of oxygen.  The other thing that soil compaction does is that it impacts the greens ability to drain water effectively, this means soft or wet patches on greens during or after periods of rain, which as we all know aren’t very pleasant to putt over or through. 
  2. Coring enables the course staff to improve the soil mixture in and around the green’s roots.
  3. And, it reduces or prevents the accumulation of excess thatch which if left too long, starts to reduce the speed of the greens.  For a shorter course like Flinders, firm fast greens are very important throughout the year, to add to the challenge of our course.

At this point, hopefully you are a bit more aware of just how important the green coring process is.  The next logical question, is how exactly do they do it?  

Core aeration is done by mechanically removing soil cores that are about the size of your little finger from the compacted soil on the green, as can be seen in the video above.

As this image shows, this allows for an infusion of air, water and anything else the course staff wants to add. 

The holes left are then generally top dressed with sand which helps the soil retain air space, improves the drainage and helps to resist compaction while the green regenerates. 

The sand also makes it easier for the roots to grow downward which is also one of the keys to keeping it healthy.

So the next time you hear someone complain when the word ‘coring’ is mentioned, remember that without this preventative maintenance, our greens here at Flinders would be muddy, bumpy and slow within a few years and completely dead within a few more.

With that in mind, sandy greens for a couple of weeks a year seems like a small price to pay, for what is the norm here at Flinders – Firm, fast, true greens.

So it’s not really done because the course staff hate golfers, the real reason is actually quite the opposite!



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