Every two years we send undisturbed samples of our greens soil to the International Sports Turf Research Center (ISTRC). They run a battery of tests on the samples to determine the health and function of our growing medium. Some of the things they look for are infiltration rate, air porosity, water porosity, organic matter content in each of the top 4 inches of the green, etc. A properly constructed green changes over time. Proper maintenance is needed to ensure that the soil functions in a way that is conducive to turf health and playability. The ISTRC report guides us in deciding what aeration techniques and frequencies are needed in order to keep the greens mix functioning properly. Our greens mix is in good shape compared to most 15 year old greens. However, when looking at the test results received last week it is clear that more aggressive aeration techniques are needed. Organic matter content in the top two inches is increasing steadily and is nearing a dangerously high level. To continue with the aeration strategy we've been using would certainly not accomplish the goal of keeping our greens healthy and playable. We must increase the amount of material we remove from the greens and incorporate more sand when topdressing. This doesn't necessarily mean more aeration, but when we do aerate we need to be more aggressive. We'll come up with a plan for 2011 based on the recently received test results. In 2012 we'll test again and hopefully see some progress in our quest to keep the soil healthy.