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.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Thatch Legislation

Thatch  (thăch)  n.  The layer of undecomposed and partially decomposed plant material tightly interwoven with living tissue between the soil surface and green vegetation.

Excessive thatch and organic matter is a primary stress on bentgrass putting greens. It causes greens to remain saturated in the upper rootzone, reducing oxygen uptake and encouraging root decline. Saturated conditions can also encourage diseases.
The old saying " Pay me now or pay me later " is certainly true for managing thatch and organic matter. The inconvenience of paying now and tolerating less than ideal playing conditions for several days after core aerification is often far less painful than enduring diseased, weak putting greens or large scale turf thinning.
The members of Willow Oaks Country Club have protected their investment in the long term success of the putting greens by closing the golf course for seven days throughout the year to perform core aerifications. The first closed days are March 15-18 to allow for our golf course management team to core aerify the putting greens in two directions.  This process will disturb roughly 22% of the greens surface and among other things, help to maintain a healthy amount of thatch in our greens profile.  We choose to aerify this early in the year in order to minimize disruption to our golfing members.  Thank you for these closed days as we work hard to maximize any time taken away from the membership.  

Here is a good article from the USGA on the need for thatch management; a process that we are already implementing here at Willow Oaks Country Club. 

Thatch Legislation

By Brian Whitlark, agronomist, Southwest Region
January 18, 2011

(L)Thatch continues to accumulate and may increase to levels detrimental to both turf health and putting quality if not properly maintained.  (R) Labor intensive core aeration, followed by sand topdressing is essential to both remove thatch and organic matter and create channels for improved water and air exchange in the soil. 

If the highly partisan politicians can agree to pass tax legislation in such a short period of time, then surely the Green Committee and board members at your club can agree to pass thatch legislation!  Far too many golf course visits in 2010 raised the question -- can we forego aeration this year?  Unlike the slumbering economy the past two years, thatch never sleeps.  Thatch and organic matter continuously accumulate at the surface and within 1-2 inches below.  Removing organic matter and thatch through proper aeration techniques and verticutting, and dilution through topdressing, are absolutely necessary every year in almost all circumstances.  In addition, prudent use of fertilizers is important to produce healthy turf, but be sure to curb excessive thatch accumulation.
Courses that want to provide tournament-ready greens throughout the year must have a long-term thatch-management plan.  Remember that the short term disruption golfers must endure following aeration yields smoother, faster and more durable putting surfaces -- period.  In most cases, foregoing aeration for even one year will result in a significant increase in organic matter and thatch.  As such, catch-up maintenance practices must be employed the following year, which will be more disruptive than a proactive management strategy.  And worse, the putting surfaces will suffer.  They will be softer, more susceptible to deep pitch marks and scalping by mowers.  In 2011, manage thatch and organic matter proactively and enjoy better putting surfaces.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Tractor

One of the many capital purchases approved this year in our department was a new tractor.  This tractor replaces a 24 year old, smaller unit that was in poor condition.  Our new tractor has a 71 Horse Power Engine and is equipped with four wheel drive and large turf friendly tires.  The tractor will maximize our efficiency during large projects such as fairway topdressing and during day to day management such as debris blowing and material hauling.  We are grateful for the new equipment and eager to put it into use.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gearing up for the Golfing Season

Well, it is hard to believe, but we are less than a month away from our Spring core aerification.  We will be posting more information on the benefits of core aerification and the reasons behind why we perform this process in the near future.  The scheduled dates for this process are March 14 -18.  The golf course will be closed during this important agronomic process.  We schedule aerification early in the season to limit the amount of affected 'good weather' golfing days.  Thank you for your patience during this time of improvement.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

A shift of focus

As we wrap up tree work, we begin a new focus on bunker maintenance.  With warmer temperatures, we are able to check and manage depths of sand, remove any contaminated sand and fix any liner or drainage.  We look forward to seeing you on the course as the weather improves and the days get longer.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black Walnut Trees Down but Not Out

    The two dead Black Walnut trees on the first hole have been taken down.  As seen in the first picture, these trees were both long past their prime and starting to decay.  When these trees were dropped the tops exploded as they were very dead and very dry.  These trees coming down has really changed the landscape of this golf hole.  We are waiting to remove the large pieces of these trees until the ground is frozen and we can get large equipment to this area.  We have removed the smaller pieces of this tree with smaller equipment. 

    You may also notice the 'crown cleaning' of the Willow Oaks behind the clubhouse has been completed.  Dead wood and excess weight have been removed to prolong the life of these trees. Enjoy the warm temperatures this afternoon as it looks to get cold again tomorrow.

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