What Are the Big Fans on Golf Courses For? (Solved)

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You may have noticed really big fans on golf courses and wondered what they are and what they do.

What are the big fans on golf courses for?

The big fans on golf courses increase air circulation, lower the temperature of the greens, prevent root shrinkage, boost transpiration of the turfgrass, and evaporate leftover moisture from morning dew. The result is a cleaner, healthier, and more playable golf course.

In this article, we’ll answer all the most common questions I get about those big fans on golf courses.

What Are the Big Fans on Golf Courses? (Detailed Description)

Golfer standing in a golf course—What Are the Big Fans on Golf Courses For?
Image by the author via Canva—What Are the Big Fans on Golf Courses For?

The large fans you see on golf courses are placed strategically to create and maintain the best-golfing environment.

Most of the big fans stand less than 10 feet to ensure the greatest amount of airflow over the ground and greens.

Typically, the closer to the surface, the better.

According to experts, the best placement is within 20 feet of the putting greens. Any further, and they don’t help much.

The fans come in different shapes and sizes, which brings us to the different types of big fans you might come across on golf courses.

Here is a 1-minute video that shows what a large fan on a golf course looks like in operation:

YouTube video by GlobalTurfNetwork—What are the big fans on golf courses for?

Types of Big Fans on Golf Courses

There are several types of big fans on golf courses.

The most common type you will see are:

  • Stationary turf fan
  • Mobile greens fan
  • Smaller golf course fan
  • Larger golf course fan

Stationary Turf Fan

Stationary turf fans are an integral part of any golf course, providing crucial airflow to keep the grass healthy and vibrant.

These specialized fans are often set in place permanently and left in place for months or years at a time. This enables them to function more efficiently and maintain a constant, steady airflow over larger patches of turf.

Additionally, these stationary units can be larger and more powerful than portable options, helping to cool the entire course more effectively.

With long-lasting power, superior construction, and ease of application, these fans can help keep greens looking their best year-round.

Mobile Greens Fan

A mobile golf course fan, or greens fan, is an important tool for any turf manager.

It sits lower to the ground than a standard turf fan, providing lower airflow and better coverage of the surface. The fan is also portable, so it can be moved around the golf course as needed.

This flexibility is essential for maintaining consistent conditions on the greens and fairways.

In addition, the mobility of the fan helps to reduce wear and tear on the grass, extending the life of the turf.

Smaller Golf Course Fan

When I say smaller, I’m talking about a difference of a little over 10 inches.

The fan head circumference of “smaller” golf course fans is usually close to 47 inches. For example, the TurfBreeze brand of fans is exactly this size.

Using TurfBreeze stats, these smaller fans push air at 4-5 miles per hour (MPH) for approximately 125 feet.

Larger Golf Course Fan

Larger golf course fans possess a fan head of around 59 inches.

Using TurfBreeze as our working example, these larger versions blow 4-5 mph air for 150 or more feet.

That may not seem like much of a difference but an additional 25+ feet of turf adds up when you consider the overall golf course.

What Do the Big Fans on Golf Courses Do? (5 Important Benefits)

Now that we know what the big fans on golf courses are, let’s take a closer look at what they actually do.

Here are five important and related benefits of big fans on golf courses.

Air Circulation

A golf course fan helps increase air circulation over the surface of the greens, which in turn helps to reduce the amount of moisture that is trapped near the crowns of the plants.

By reducing the amount of moisture that is present, the turfgrass is better able to withstand disease pressure and stress from heat and foot traffic.

In addition, the increased air circulation helps to dry dew more quickly, which can reduce the chances of foliar diseases developing.

Lower Green Temperature

The greens of a golf course are highly sensitive to temperature. Because of their delicate composition, even slight shifts in temperature can be disastrous for the health of the grass.

A flash heat wave or an unexpected frost can severely damage the greens and cause irreversible loss of life.

As such, it is essential that golf course owners take steps to ensure that the greens are kept cool. One effective method is to install aeration fans near the greens.

These fans function by circulating air across the surface of the grass, keeping it at a more moderate temperature.

By lowering temperatures on the surface level, aeration fans can help to prevent severe damage in times of high heat or cold weather. Furthermore, they also promote strong grass growth and reduce weed infestation, making them a vital tool for any golf course owner looking to maintain healthy greens in the long term.

Prevent Root Shrinkage

A golf course fan prevents root shrinkage on the greens.

This is important because it helps to keep the greens healthy and vibrant. When the roots of the grass plants shrink, they become less able to absorb water and nutrients.

This can lead to yellowing and browning of the grass, as well as bare patches.

A golf course fan helps to prevent this by providing a steady flow of air that keeps the roots cool and moist. The fan can also help prevent diseases and pests from attacking the roots.

Boost Turfgrass Transpiration

Turfgrass transpiration is the process by which water vapor escapes from grass.

It is an important process for regulating moisture levels in the soil and preventing stress on the plants. Golf courses rely on healthy turfgrass to provide a good playing surface, so it is important to keep transpiration rates high.

One way to do this is to use a golf course fan.

Fans help to create a wind that evaporates water from the grass, increasing transpiration rates.

Evaporate Moisture

Golf course greens are some of the most well-manicured and delicate landscapes in the world.

A key element in maintaining these perfect conditions is moisture control. Too much moisture can lead to problems such as disease, fungi, and prolonged recovery times from mechanical damage.

On the other hand, not enough moisture will cause the grass to stress, turn brown, and become brittle—which affecs playability.

In order to ensure proper moisture levels, groundskeepers rely on a variety of tools, including soil moisture sensors, weather stations, and irrigation systems.

However, one of the most important tools for moisture control is the golf course fan.

By evaporating excess moisture from the surface of the greens, fans help to maintain the ideal balance for healthy turfgrass. In addition, they can also be used to cool greens during hot weather, further protecting against stress and damage.

Who Makes the Big Fans on Golf Courses?

The biggest and most well-known company that makes golf course fans is Subair systems.

Subair offers a range of turf products and services, such as:

  • Hydronics
  • TurfBreeze fans
  • Monitoring and systems control

Other companies that make big fans on golf courses include Airmax and Patterson fans.

Final Thoughts: What Are the Big Fans on Golf Courses For?

My guess is that ventilation on golf courses will continue to advance as new research is published and new technology is developed.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Sources

CropScience
USGA.org