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.


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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, October 31, 2011

90 Degrees, Ball Marks and Green Speeds

It is finally here.  Barring any frost tomorrow morning, the golf course will re-open at 8:00 a.m. to normal tee times.  Frost looks unlikely with a chance of showers and overnight lows in the low 40's.  We will open with normal cart rulings and will only restrict carts to the path if weather dictates.  Once temperatures and the weather decline, we will go to permanent cart restrictions just like every winter.  This week looks to be good for 90 degree cart traffic unless we get rain tonight.

The greens have come full circle and are back in good putting shape.  The on-deck putting green at the first tee has taken a little longer to grow in so it will remain closed to finish growing in.  The greens are currently being mowed at .150", which is where we would normally like to be going into the winter.  The speeds will be slow.  Let me repeat that, the green speeds will be slow.  Speed is and always will be a secondary concern to turf health.  There is no reason to push the greens any lower or roll any more to gain a little speed for the next few weeks.  While the greens are healthy and dense, the 12 week old turf will benefit from limited mechanical traffic.  Once the temperatures warm back up in the spring, we will begin to make a push for better putting green speed. 

The greens should receive balls well but we will see a greater impact from ball marks.  During this time of continued recovery, fixing ball marks will be more important than ever.  The greens are not growing as fast right now so any ball marks that do not get fixed will be visible for quite some time.  Fixing your ball mark plus one more will make for smooth, consistent putting greens.  Hold the players in your group accountable for their ball marks as well.  Please watch this instructional video from the USGA on ball mark  repair.

We hope that you are as excited as we are to reopen the golf course.  The course is in good shape with a few new additions and a lot of healthy turf.  We look forward to seeing you out there.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Prepping for November 1

The golf course will reopen next Tuesday, November 1 and we could not be happier.  We are ready to put this behind us and get back to normal.  We are busy prepping for next week and wrapping up some new additions to the golf course.  The staff has mowed out fairways with our lightweight Triplexes that are normally reserved for tees and approaches.  These machines provide a better quality of cut than the fairway units because these new mowers are designed to mow at a higher height of cut if needed.  The reels on these machines have 11 blades as opposed to the 7 blades on our fairway units which also helps.  We have raised our fairway mowing height to protect the turf as it goes into dormancy. 
The staff is installing ball washers at 4, 6, 8, 13, and 14 tees.  The ball washers will be located directly next to the water coolers.  Our management team has been busy spraying for winter weeds and building a bridge to connect 16 green to 17 tees for easier walking access.  The herbicide will be a split application to catch any poa annua or other weeds that have germinated in the last few months.  The first application of herbicide has been completed and the bridge and ball washers will be completed tomorrow.  Subsequent applications of herbicide will follow in November and February.  And of course, we are busy with final putting green preparation and leaf removal.

Mowing #2 Green
New Ball Washer

Working on #16 Bridge

Jorge operating the leaf sweeper

Mowing fairways with our smaller Triplexes to increase our quality of cut.  This takes a lot of time and would be impractical on a daily basis without increased labor and equipment.

Bobby spraying winter weeds.

The tractor blower and leaf sweeper at work.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Leaf Removal and USGA Article

Mid Atlantic Update
Keith Happ, Senior Agronomist
Its That Time of Year; Recovery and Rejuvenation is a priority!

This article from the USGA is very relevant to what we are doing right now.  We are neck deep in leaf removal and are wrapping up any seeding of fescue areas.  Today, we are spraying for winter weeds, removing leaves and continuing work on the irrigation system before we shut it down for the winter.  Greens are receiving applications of lime and topdressing behind the mowers. 

Please remember that you can follow the blog through twitter or our email feed.  You can also easily sign your friends up to receive the email feed.  Have a great weekend.

Chuck spends most of his day in the Fall on leaf removal.  The large willow oak trees in his area make this a daunting task.

Greens have to be blown off for other work to be completed.

Xinyi is tilling the soil to begin the seeding process next to the restrooms.  The leaves will have to be removed, the soil ammended, seed planted and straw added.  The two MSU interns have been very involved in all seeding projects.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quick Greens Update and a lot of Pictures

#1 Green
Greens are progressing beautifully.  We are at our winter height of cut and finalizing any topdressing, fungicide, and fertility applications.  Every green has full coverage outside of a few blemishes on the on deck putter and the clubhouse putting green.  We will continue to improve those areas but the 18 greens on the golf course are our main priority. 

Stan Zontek, our USGA agronomist visited yesterday to follow up on our progress.  Stan agrees that the greens are progressing well for their age and will only improve over the next few weeks of good growing weather.  The greens were topdressed and received a gypsum application yesterday and will receive an application of organic fertilizer today.  Other ongoing projects include irrigation head leveling, bunker renovation, fescue seeding, leaf removal, and cart path improvements.  Once the golf course is open and the leaves start to fall, the majority of our focus will shift to leaf removal.  When temperatures drop in December, the focus will shift to tree work, winter weed eradication and other winter projects.
We finished this bunker on #9 last week

Besides wreaking havoc on our irrigation system, the recent lightning storms have left some unique damage to our trees.

Areas where we had poor seed germination have been tilled, soils amended and reseeded.

Great germination and new growth to the left of #9 cartpath.

Over time irrigation heads settle and the continual topdressing of fairways makes them sit too low.  Our staff is leveling the irrigation heads that are too low.

Installing rock and cement to limit cart damage around sharp turns in the cart paths.

#9 Green

Friday, October 7, 2011

Productive Week

We are trying to pull together a good week of grassing, winter preparation and renovation.  The golf course is in great shape going into dormancy and the greens are progressing wonderfully.  Our staff has taken advantage of the perfect weather this week and really completed some good work.  Poor conditions along the cartpath on holes 2, 3, and 9 are being graded and seeded this week and the left fairway bunker is being renovated.  The second pound of potash was applied to holes 10-18 and this application will be finished on Monday.  The potash supplies potassium to the plants and helps them survive dormancy.  Dormancy is the plants natural protection method to survive Winter.  Potassium is particularly important because of its contribution to root growth, environmental stress tolerance (cold and dry) and wear tolerance.  The stronger the turf is going into dormancy, the greater the chance of winter survival. 
The growth of the TifSport and Tifton 10 (T-10) bermudagrasses has really slowed down and they will begin to turn off color (go dormant) over the next few months.  As the bermudagrass stops growing, the cool season grasses continue to thrive until soil temperatures really drop.  Leaf season is right around the corner and we want to get all of the fescue seed established before we have to shift focus to leaf removal.  Enjoy the Autumn weather and have a great weekend.

Re-Lining the left fairway bunker on #9.  Sand will go in on Monday.

We have started to see some germination in these areas along 9 cartpath.

Weeds and rocks are removed and the ground in tilled.  Topsoil is then applied followed by fertilizer, seed and straw.

Prepping for seed.  This area between 9, 13, and 14 will be a main focus for us next year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Greens Topdressing and Fertilization

This morning we mowed greens at .180" and followed that with sand (topdressing), gypsum and fertilizer applications.  Our staff is also renovating the left fairway bunker on #9, aerating and seeding fescue areas, and converting poor areas and unused mulch beds to turf.  They will also be edging cart paths, sprinkler heads, and tee yardage plates.  Greens and bunkers were edged last week to prevent bermuda grass infiltration.  As temperatures continue to drop and bermuda grass growth slows, we will see less and less of a need to edge the bermuda grass runners.   

Our staff turns the walk mowers on lattice to reduce mechanical damage to the bermuda collars as the TifSport enters dormancy.  This process is done October - May to prevent damage when the TifSport is not aggressively growing.  Greens were mowed at .180" today.  We are closing in on our target goal of a .150" winter height of cut.
Following mowing, greens were topdressed with rotary spreaders at a rate of 180 lbs of sand./1000ft2.

Bobby and Edgar fertilizing #9 Green. 

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