The mere mention of aerated greens can give a golfers a case of night sweats. For many, the thought of putting on those sandy, bumpy greens is too unpredictable to be comfortable.

Big Meadow will reopen on Monday, Oct. 17, with 18 newly aerated greens and $35 green fees. And Black Butte Ranch has improved the aeration process over the years to make it less intrusive for golfers than what some might remember. The holes punched during aeration are smaller and the greens heal more quickly than the old days of course maintenance.

Still, there is no denying that recently aerated greens play differently than greens in peak condition. They roll more slowly and the punched holes can knock a putt off line.

Forget the mandatory two-putt maximum, though. Simple, almost common sense, ways to improve your performance on aerated greens do exist, suggests George Mack Jr., Black Butte Ranch’s longtime director of instruction.

“The first thing we need to do is check our putter face and our golf ball,” Mack advises.

The culprit for many a poor putt this time of year is actually the sand that is applied during the aeration process. While most of it is swept into the tines on the greens, grains are typically present.

And often those grains stick to the ball and clubface, producing frequent mishits to those who don’t take the necessary care.

“If you get sand between your putter face and the ball, then the ball will be (misdirected) by about 6 inches off your face and produce a poorly a hit putt,” Mack said.

Once clear of sand, we must then adjust to the slower pace of the greens and the bumpier lines. To compensate, golfers should target past the hole, ensuring a firm putt.

“You want to make sure that you try to hit the ball at least 3 feet past the hole,” Mack said. “Everything must be struck firmly, because as you know the ball dribbles toward the hole (on aerated greens).”

Taking these simple steps will help you make the most of the end of the golf season.

For more information on how to take a lesson from Jeff or any of our Black Butte Ranch instructors, visit