Explaining how the Sub Air system at the Masters works
CMC Masters

Explaining how the Sub Air system at the Masters works

A photo of a pin flag at the Masters Tournament

If you've watched the Masters Tournament in recent memory, you've no doubt heard about the Sub Air system at Augusta National Golf Club. It's referred to somewhat casually, but the Sub Air system is important in making sure the greens at the home of the Masters can remain as firm and fast as the club would like, almost regardless of the weather conditions.

The Sub Air system is, effectively, an enormous vacuum directly under or near the ground underneath green complexes. The Sub Air system connects to the existing drainage piping system underneath a USGA spec green, and it can suck moisture out of the ground so that water doesn't linger on the greens to slow them down and soften them. When golfers walk on soft and spongy greens, they can also damage them with weight, twisting and the normal wear-and-tear that comes with playing golf.

There are sensors installed in the green complexes to measure moisture and other factors, which superintendents can use to determine when they need to turn on the Sub Air system and suck out water. In a matter of minutes, the Sub Air system can remove moisture and have a green ready to go.

The Sub Air system also does more than just suck out water and air. It also allows superintendents to blow cool air back into the greens to help keep them cool when it's particularly hot outside.

The Sub Air system is a critical tool the team at Augusta National -- and other properties around the world -- can use to make sure their greens are in perfect condition, no matter the weather.

With rain a natural and expected part of the Masters Tournament weather forecast, having the Sub Air system means Augusta National can almost guarantee the first men's major of the year will play as they and their patrons expect.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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