Willow Oaks Country Club Golf Course Updates

Our goal is to keep the membership informed about projects, agronomic practices, and upcoming events on the golf course.


Navigating this Webpage

Maintenance Calendar, Follow us via Email or Social Media, and ways to find more information


Spring Aeration

Golf Course Closed March 27-31


February Golf Course Update

Winter Projects, Bunker Maintenance, and Greens Aeration Schedule


Air Movement and Fan Video

I took this video to show the efficacy and performance of our new Turf Breeze portable 50" Fan.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Art of Balancing Turf and Tree Health

You may have noticed a few trees missing around the golf course.  You may have also noticed some undergrowth being cleared and some limbs being removed.  We do this work during the winter when frozen ground conditions limit damage from falling trees and less traffic on the golf course limits safety concerns.  We take careful consideration when choosing to prune or remove any tree at Willow Oaks Country Club.  Tree maintenance and removal is performed for three important reasons.

1: Tree Removal due to damaged, dead or unsafe trees.
An example of this is the removal of the dead trees between the 2nd green and the 3rd tees.  These trees were dead and starting to drop limbs at a rapid rate.  The proximity to essential features of the golf course as well as the danger of falling limbs to golfers made it necessary for us to remove these trees.

2: Tree Removal or pruning in order to promote turf growth by improving air movement, improving sunlight exposure and reducing competition for nutrient and water uptake.
A great example of this is the removal of the trees from the western side of the on deck putting green.  These trees competed with the green for sunlight, water and nutrients.  The video below has a great illustration of this.

3:  Tree Pruning to preserve health, safety and aesthetic value of our trees.
When tree work needs to be done around the clubhouse, we bring in the professional arborists from Arborscapes.  An analogy was used referring to the tree projects here at Willow Oaks; “Our golf course management team is the machete and Arborscapes is the scalpel.”  The team from Arborscapes analyzes the large namesake Willow Oak trees around the clubhouse and performs precise pruning techniques to remove dead wood and reduce excess weight.  This preventative practice known as crown cleaning improves the trees’ long and short term health as well as reduces safety risks associated with falling limbs.  The club’s long term commitment to the health and safety of these trees will pay off for years to come.

Please enjoy this educational video from the USGA about Trees on the Golf Course  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Turf Twisters from the USGA

by the Green Section staff
Q: During the spring our golf course superintendent has an irritating habit of delaying morning play until the frost has melted on the greens. Is this truly necessary to protect the health of the turf? (Missouri)
Canada geese footprints in frost  
A: The short answer to your question is yes. The long answer is that ice crystals on the surface of the grass makes them brittle enough to break off at their base when stepped on. In fact, the turf can become so brittle that even a small animal, such as a goose, can cause unsightly damage to the turf.

The Green Section offers a short animation explaining the problems of frost in greater detail. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Warm Afternoon

The highs today look to be in the high 50's.  With that being said, we are changing hole locations (pin position 9) and rolling greens with walk mowers.  When we roll greens this way, we use old greens mowers that have been modified for this purpose.  This type of rolling requires more man hours than a riding roller but is less aggressive.  We are laying down lattice around our greens to turn the walk mowers on to prevent damage to the dormant turf.  The greens are being rolled to smooth out imperfections, provide as good of a surface as possible, and to prepare them for mowing.  Temperatures look good tomorrow as well but we dive back into the 30's for Friday and Saturday.  We are also doing work on the driving range practice bunker and installing irrigation at grounds.  Enjoy the weather while it lasts!

Read more about the benefits of light-weight rolling.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

All 18 Holes Open for Play

All 18 holes will be open for play today.  With temperatures around 50°F yesterday, the rest of the snow has melted off.  This is a good thing for golfers but with highs around 45°F-50°F and lows in the teens we are experiencing some freeze and thaw conditions.  This thawing process leaves the ground soft as the frozen moisture in the soil profile melts.  This means that turf is damp and soft in the afternoon during warmer temperatures and then frozen in the morning and at night due to freezing temperatures.  Due to these conditions golf carts must be restricted to the path in order to prevent damage.  This also means that greens will be soft during the day.  Please remember to fix all ball marks as they will be more severe during these soft conditions.

Here is a good video from the USGA on ball mark repair.

Here is a good article from the USGA on ball mark repair..

Thanks and have a great day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

15 Holes Open for Play

Number 7 Green: 60% Snow cover
The golf course will be open for play this morning at 11:00 a.m. Holes 7, 11, and 15 will remain closed due to snow cover. These greens receive limited sun exposure due to shade from surrounding trees. Number 7 Green is still about 60% covered with snow and should stay that way through the weekend. There is minimal snow left on number 15 and 11 but caution must be taken to prevent damage. Please skip these three holes during your round today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The More it Melts, The More it Falls

Winter Equipment Maintenance
After receiving a few inches of snow this past weekend, the golf course could really have used a reprieve from frozen precipitation.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  We began receiving snow and sleet this morning and it looks to continue throughout the day.  We will keep you updated on the status of the golf course.  We have been busy inside working on small projects, winter equipment maintenance and repairs to our Mechanic's side of the shop.  We are also continuing to work outside on the removal of dead and dangerous trees.  Other trees are being removed to limit competition with desirable turf and to create new areas of maintained turf.  Careful consideration is taken into every decision concerning tree work here at Willow Oaks Country Club.  Have a great week.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Willow Oak Tree Management Program

This week, work began on the Willow Oak trees behind the clubhouse.  The dead wood is being removed and the trees are being pruned to take some of the excess weight off of these century old namesakes.  Willow Oaks Country Club has made the commitment to maintain all of the Willow Oaks around the clubhouse and in the parking lot on a preventative basis in order to preserve the aesthetic appeal of the trees, help the trees age gracefully, and to maintain a safe environment.  This preventative maintenance will protect the health and longevity of these natural landmarks.  

Happy New Years

The beginning of 2011 has brought us warmer temperatures and in turn a playable golf course.  The departure of the majority of the snow allowed for some golf yesterday.  The wet conditions left behind after the snow melt were magnified by rainfall throughout most of the day.  The golf course will be open for play as long as we do not receive any more snow but other winter weather can wreak havoc on the golf course as well. 

Continual freezing and thawing can lead to poor putting surfaces during periods of high soil moisture.  With minimal sunlight and cold temperatures, wet conditions do not dry as quickly during the winter months.  When air temperatures are above freezing, our soils begin to thaw and in turn our playing surfaces are wet and receive a lot of foot printing and tracks from wildlife, golfers, push carts, etc.  Once the temperatures drop at night, these imperfections in the ground freeze and become a permanent fixture until thawing resumes.  With minimal maintenance practices such as mowing and rolling being performed due to  frost, low temperatures, and winter dormancy, these imperfections can remain for days or weeks. 

Please bear with us as we continue the course cleanup from the snow, geese, and leaves.  We are also continuing the maintenance of our natural area to the left of #7 as well as cleaning up the area to the left of #9 fairway and the area to the right of #13 green.  I hope you start this new year of 2011 with a great first week.

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