Why Aerate Greens?
The word aeration stimulates negative emotions for many golfers. It may come as a surprise, but golf course superintendents also dislike aeration. After all, the last person who wants to disrupt the smoothness of the putting greens they work so hard to maintain is the superintendent.
Golfers often ask, “Why is aeration needed so often?” Aeration is an essential program to keep playing surfaces healthy and in good condition. Aeration primarily is performed to control organic matter – i.e., decaying roots and grass stems – relieve soil compaction, stimulate root growth and improve drainage. If organic matter becomes too thick, it acts like a sponge and holds water at the surface after rain or irrigation. Excessive organic matter also inhibits root growth, reduces oxygen levels in the soil, encourages disease and eventually can lead to turf failure. Furthermore, excessive organic matter creates soft surfaces prone to ball marks, foot printing and inconsistent playing conditions. Aeration and topdressing are the most effective ways to control organic matter and maintain smooth, firm putting surfaces.
Here is a USGA video explaining the necessity of aeration of the greens at golf courses.