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, December 15, 2011

Is it really December?

With today feeling like late October, I find myself out of the Holiday spirit.  We still have not seen winter.  If it wasn't for all of the leaves on the ground or the Fraser Fir in my living room, I wouldn't have a clue that today is the fifteenth of December.  The staff is busy with seasonal work including bunker adjustments, leaf removal, and equipment maintenance.  Unlike a normal winter, we are still mowing greens regularly, rolling greens and applying fungicides on the greens.  I was rolling greens in the dark this morning in order to stay ahead of the crew spraying greens. 
The only negative to a mild fall pertains to the bermudagrass.  The plant really needs consistently cold temperatures to harden off properly and enter dormancy.  To date, we still have a lot of green grass in the fairways.  The plants have stopped growing but are not fully dormant.  Keeping traffic off of the turf will be even more important this year even though it has been very nice.  Tuesday began our winter cart path restrictions.  Our team will make daily calls regarding cart path closures.  Thank you for your patience during this dormant season.
It has been a very uncharacteristic fall but we will take it.  There were more rounds played in November than June.  The blog has eclipsed the 10,000 page view mark and over 80 people follow the blog on email or twitter.  The greens are progressing nicely and have taken the extra traffic very well.  We are starting to prepare for next year and I am very excited about the projects planned for 2012.  As we move into the end of December, we hope to see you at the club and want to wish every one a happy holiday season. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

River Stays Within Banks

After a wide variety of predictions, the river has crested right at 15'6".  The river has not come on to the golf course but the creek to the left of #4 has started to spill on to #4.  The bridges at #17 are under water and that hole will be played to a temporary green.  There is a heavy frost this morning and in turn a long frost delay.  Due to wet conditions, carts will be restricted to the cart path.  Play will start as soon as possible.  Have a great weekend.

With the river so high, the course is not allowed to drain and the water has come over the bridges on #17.

The river came close to #5

Water near the cart path on #16.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

River Crest Update

The predicted river crest has been lowered to 15.1 feet.  We are installing sand bags to prevent silt from coming on with the water.  The river should stay around 15 feet between 7:00 p.m. tonight and 7:00 p.m. tomorrow.  If this prediction holds true, the golf course will be in good shape with minimal flooding.

River level at 13.9 feet: 12:30 p.m. Thursday.  Click on graph for updated prediction.

Storm and River Update

Quick update from the field:

As of 8:15 am Thursday, the river is at 11.5 ft, rising quickly, and expected to crest at 16 ft.  If this happens, the golf course will take on water and a few holes may have to briefly close.  Will continue updates via twitter and blog.  You can follow twitter feeds from blog as well.

Course made it through storm well.  Bunkers in tough shape but only lost 3 non critical trees, well out of play.  Lots of debris on course and no leaves left on trees.  Overall, we are in good shape...flooding will determine if we end up with any other damage.

The club has power if you do not.  Have a great day.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Changing Weather and River Update

The weather system that is currently moving through our area looks to bring heavy rains and cooler temperatures.  Winter may finally arrive.  I know that I have been thankful for the beautiful Fall but all good things must come to an end.  If the projected overnight lows are correct, frost will once again be prevalent and in turn, frost delays.  The projected lows over the next 5 days are 37°F, 28°F, 32°F, 26°F, and 28°F.  We will have frost and we will have frost delays.    

Frost on the grass blades tells us that the water inside the leaves is frozen.  Water is the primary component of plant tissue. When this water is frozen, traffic on the turf causes the ice crystals in the cells to puncture through the cell walls, killing the plant tissue. Little damage is done to the crowns (growing points) or roots if only a light frost appears; however, when the frost is heavy, cell disruption may occur at the crown, thus killing the entire plant. Frost damage symptoms include white to light tan leaves where traffic has passed.  Even if you do not see frost on the practice putting greens, we may have frost on a few greens on the golf course.  Shade and location both affect how long it takes for frost to burn off of greens.  Frost delays affect every tee time but overall membership satisfaction, quality of the turf and golf course conditions have to be taken into consideration.  We also have to allow time for maintenance ahead of play so thank you for your patience on these cold mornings. 

Foot traffic damage as a result of walking on frost covered turf.
This weather system is also bringing heavy rains.  The river looks to rise over the next few days to a crest of 13.7 feet.  The golf course begins to take on water at 15 feet so initial projections are good.  The best resource for river level information is the National Weather Services Westham Gauge. 

This graph is current as of 4:00 pm on December 7.  Click here for a current river level prediction.
Our staff has been busy this week with post emergent herbicide applications, bunker depth adjustments, leaf removal, Pennywort (the floating aquatic weed in the ponds) removal, and routine maintenance.  REMINDER: Carts will be restricted to the path beginning Tuesday, December 13.  The policy on exceptions to winter cartpath restrictions can be found here.  Carts may be restricted to the path between now and December 13 due to wet conditions.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2012 Planned Projects and Winter Cart Path Restrictions

Last night was the final Green Committee meeting of the year.  The committee voted on projects for 2012 based on the best utilization of the operating budget.  The four projects were selected from a master list of top 20 projects that has been developed over the course of 2011.  The projects that were selected include hardscaping the areas around the water coolers, renovating the area to the left of number nine fairway, renovating the area between the tenth hole and the twelfth hole and renovating the rough around the twelfth tee.  The rest of the master list includes but is not limited to bunker renovations (asphalt liner installations), tree line renovations, drainage installations, and turf conversions.  When the committee chooses a project, the project is meticulously planned and priced by our management team prior to the committee placing the project on the master list.  These projects are then prioritized based on price, condition of area to be renovated, and playability.  Acts of nature such as flooding will impact the completion dates of these projects.  The 2012 planned projects are described and pictured below.

1. Renovate the area between the tenth and twelfth fairways.
Goals:  a. Remove dead or decaying trees
b.  Remove trees to increase sunlight and allow for turf installation
c.  Create mulch beds around remaining trees to promote tree health
d.  Create an aesthetically pleasing, playable area through the installation of turf
Work will begin to the left of #10 tees.  This leaning Pine was struck by lightning and will have to be removed this winter.

The area between 10 and 12 is poor and needs to be renovated to improve playability.
This project will begin almost immediately.  Tree work is always a winter focus but the dead, decaying, and weak specimen trees will be remove this winter to allow for better growing conditions.  The remaining trees will be grouped into mulch beds with the remaining areas being sodded and sprigged to T-10 bermudagrass.  This area has always been poor and barren and this project will provide a much needed improvement.  

2.  Renovate the area to the left of the ninth fairway.
Goals: a.Allow more sunlight onto #9 fairway
b. Remove dead or decaying trees
c.  Remove trees to increase sunlight and allow for turf installation

d.  Create mulch beds around remaining trees to promote tree health

e.  Create an aesthetically pleasing, playable area through the installation of turf
f.  Remove ditch/hazard to the left of the cart path on #9

This project was started by adding topsoil and cleaning up the area of underbrush.  Seed was planted to control erosion of the new topsoil.  This established turf was a cheap, easy erosion control method that leaves the area aesthetically pleasing until the project is completed.  The turf will be sprayed out in order for the area to be sprigged and sodded.

This picture was taken at 10 a.m.  The ninth fairway stays shaded most of the day.  This leads to poor, wet conditions and a potential for winterkill.

Dead and decaying trees will be removed as well as poor specimen trees to allow for good bermudagrass growing conditions.  Mulch beds will be installed around the remaining trees.  The ditch in this tree line will be removed and pipe will be installed to maintain proper drainage.
This project is already well under way.  Underbrush has been cleared and drainage has been installed.  Topsoil was added to level this area while we had some extra time this fall.  The seed was established as an erosion control method to prevent the new topsoil from wind and water erosion.  This grass will be sprayed out so that T-10 bermudagrass can be installed.  The new T-10 will be installed from the bridge at #17 green to the tees at #13.  The area behind #14 green that was intended to be fine fescue will be converted to T-10 as well.  This entire area needs improvement and the increased sunlight in #9 fairway will promote turf quality and limit cart path restrictions.

3. Renovate the entire area surrounding #12 Tee Complex
Goals a.  Replace Fine Fescue with T-10 bermudagrass
b.  Replace Tall Fescue with T-10 bermudagrass
c.  Remove unnecessary mulch beds and replace with turf
d.  Improve aesthetics and playability of this area

The area between #12 tees and #14 tees will be renovated to T-10 bermudagrass.

The tall fescue in front of the twelfth tee will be renovated to T-10 bermudagrass.  The TifSport walking trail will remain intact.  This area will connect this project to the project planned between #10 and #12.
The area between #10 Green and #11 Green and #12 Tees will be renovated to T-10 bermudagrass.  The intended turf in this area was fine fescue.  This was not an acceptable playing surface for this area.

This is a much needed project and will really change the landscape around the eleventh green, twelfth tee complex, and thirteenth green.  All of the old fine fescues will be removed and T-10 bermudagrass will be installed with sod and sprigs.  The T-10 bermudagrass will add some contrast to the landscape vs. the TifSport bermudagrass and will provide a much better playing surface than the mowed down fine fescue. 

4. Hardscape Installation around Water Cooler Stations
Goal:  Create a consistent, clean look for all of the golf course amenities.
Our team will install a cobblestone hardscape around each of these water cooler stations to develop a crisp, consistent look.  The mulch beds will be removed or adapted for landscaping.  The locations of these amenities will remain the same.  You might have noticed unnecessary mulch beds being removed around the golf course this year.  

Two last notes

Chipping and pitching are prohibited on the practice putting green at the driving range.  Chipping and putting are allowed on the practice putting green behind the clubhouse.

Carts will be restricted to the path starting Tuesday December 13.  This protects the dormant turf from traffic while it is not actively growing.  Handicapped flags will be allowed when weather permits.  The Policy on Exceptions to Carts on Path Only During Winter Dormant Season can be found here.

Have a great weekend.

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