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Eucalyptus Tree


This will be the final part of the articles dedicated to the task of puncturing. I will try to make it so that anyone can visualize the differences in results in practice that involve decision-making in the spikes to use on a green.

For some golfers, aeration is a dreadful word. It conjures up images of greens full of holes and green surfaces that, at best, are inconsistent and, at worst, may not be playable at all. But serious golfers understand that aeration is necessary to maintain a healthy turf. Aeration counteracts the effects of traffic while minimizing the risk of diseases.

"You have to have a continuous program," says the USGA Green Section.

pinchado GOLF

 Courtesy of USGA 

Finding the ideal aeration approach for a golf course green is a process influenced by the specific conditions of the course and its maintenance goals. The decision comes down to the possibilities and specific needs of the course at any given time. Aeration strategies can also be adjusted over the years, responding to changes in course conditions or to achieve specific maintenance goals.

On the other hand, performing aeration at the right time ensures recovery and return to a uniform surface as quickly as possible. The key to quick recovery is to aerate when the turf is healthy and actively growing.

In the following table, I show the differences between different approaches based on the size of the spikes used. It shows the result of the surface of a green that is affected by aerating. Although this is not entirely true in practice due to various more complex technical aspects not considered in the table, it serves very well as an illustrative example.

tabla pinchado campos golf

Up to five different spike diameters have been assumed, which in turn have been divided into three different frameworks, meaning different separations between the holes located on one side and the other. The last two columns provide a very quick overview of the impact on the surface. An annual renewal of 15-20% of the green's surface is usually considered adequate and can be achieved with different combinations as shown in the table. For example, with half-inch spikes with a 1x2 spacing, 2 aerations per year will be sufficient to achieve this. However, if we want to disturb the players much less and achieve faster recovery, we can opt for quarter-inch spikes for the same spacing, but knowing that to achieve the same renewal, we should carry out the operation 8 times a year!

The size of the spikes and the distance between the holes will have a significant impact on health, playability, operation cost, and recovery time.


In summary, the art of aeration requires a careful balance of various factors, each tailored to the unique conditions of the golf course. The goal is always to maintain a healthy and playable turf while minimizing the impact on the game.

I leave some reflection for those who have the final say in the directives when it comes to allowing technicians to perform the work. As anyone can imagine, for the task of puncturing to be carried out, there must be workers and machinery on the green for a certain period, several hours in this case. For this reason, very wisely, during puncturing, some courses close the entire course (especially those with more than 18 holes), and others choose to close 9 and allow play on the other 9 and then switch. But then, there are other types of courses (the fewest) that unfortunately decide that it is not necessary to close any hole at all and that play can continue at the same time.


In this case, players hit the green even with workers on the green, in a kind of "duck shooting," while the uneasy workers glance over and try to dodge the balls, only to later arrive at the green and insist on continuing the game "putting" on the freshly punctured and/or sand-filled green. You will understand how uncomfortable this is for all parties involved, and I know that many readers will think it's a joke, but I assure you I know what I'm talking about!

Author: Antonio Márquez (Director and greenkeeper Green Garden Corp. in Panama)

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