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SubAir Systems at Augusta

SubAir systems perform at the Masters 2020

Posted on November 13, 2020 at 3:27 PM

One challenge greenkeepers and ground staff must overcome is how to keep their course, pitch and turf playable during seasons when there are large amounts of rainfall. Sports turf getting soaked can affect games, competitions and tournaments so a lot of stress is pushed on to the turf maintenance teams to ensure they make the turf playable. Previously this was a massive headache for grounds teams, however they now have the ability to fight back thanks to SubAir systems.

A SubAir system is a product that has been created, by compiling a series of pumps and blowers that connect with the drainage system below the turf. To fully reap the benefits of the SubAir system, an underground drainage system needs to be constructed “USGA spec green” with a main pipe and a series of lateral tributary pipes feeding into it underneath the surface. These pipes can then work in synergy, gathering excess water from the turf and then pumping and blowing it to a nearby exit area or drain.

Once the system has been activated, it acts as a vacuum and pulls air and water from the turf much quicker. If there is a need to pull a lot of water off the turf then additional pumps and mechanisms can be added to pull it even quicker and further away from the area.

A pressure mode feature is also incorporated into the SubAir system, which can force air into the pipes and therefore into the soil and root systems of the turf. This can aid turf management teams to monitor the temperature of the sports turf without needing to interrupt any play.

In 2001, Augusta National Golf Club was the first club to install a SubAir system into their 13th green but now, 20 years later, all greens are incorporated with the system to better manage the turf in relation to air, temperature and water. The system is proving once again very useful in this year’s exceptional edition of the Masters.

Since then, many other golf courses now have SubAir systems on their golf courses including Pebble Beach Golf Links. Other sports and stadiums have also incorporated SubAir systems underneath their turf including The Philadelphia Phillies (Baseball), Wembley Stadium (football, also know as soccer) and New England Patriots (American Football).