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 17, 2013

Snowfall and River Levels

Our team is currently preparing for snow and keeping a close eye on the river.  We have received close to 3 inches of rain this week and with projected snowfall, the river level is always a concern.  The club will be communication hours of operation for Friday, January 18 if changes are necessary.  We will continue to update information about the golf course and any delays or closing due to snow.  Stay safe on the roads and enjoy the weekend.

The projected river levels as of 4:00 p.m. on Thursday keep the crest well below the level of the golf course.  The golf course starts to take on water at 15.5 feet.  We will keep a close eye on the river.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A change of weather

What a difference a few days can make.  This past weekend was beautiful and great for golf.  Since then, rain has just about ruined any chances of working outdoors this week.  Our team was able to do a few projects on Monday as well as get some soil amendments out on tees and greens ahead of the rain.  Since then, we have received 2.25" of steady rain and it is still coming down.  The golf course will be very wet for a long time as we are forecast for rain and even snow through tomorrow night (Thursday, Jan. 17.)  While the rain has hampered our progress on the course, the staff has taken the opportunity to finish up most of the work on birdhouses, stakes, benches etc.  After this period of rainfall, the weather looks to be dry and seasonally cold. 

Last week, our team was able to finish up a few projects including underbrush clearing and the installation of more fan wire.  Wire is now installed to greens 3, 4, 6, and 10.  We still have 11 and 13 to go.  At the end of this winter, fans will be on greens 1, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 13, and 15.  When we began the run of wire to #10, we anticipated to hit some rock.  Little did we know that we were going to be trenching right through a huge pile of old quarry spoils.  Luckily it was our shortest run of wire for the year.  Our team will be busy on Friday, Saturday and Sunday readying the course for play.  We can expect very wet conditions through next week.  I hope you stay warm and find some great indoor activities at the club to enjoy this week.

Have a great day,

Jordan Booth

The trencher certainly wasn't going to work and this job was actually too big for a mini-ex.  We had to resort to the backhoe to trench the wire in on 10.  Our team pulled out two dump bed loads of cobblestone sized rock and 3 large boulders.
The boulders and cobblestones are from the quarry to the right of #11.  They make great features on the golf course and were saved for later use.  We were able to finish this project in a day but it took much longer than anticipated.
The benches have all been pressure washed and sanded.  They are now receiving their third and final coat of teak oil.
All of the different hazard, out of bounds, on/off and directional stakes are sanded and painted every winter.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Showing the Benefits of Drill and Fill with a Camera

This week looks great for golf and some work around the course.  Our team has finished the hard scaping around the water cooler stations at #4 and #8.  The water cooler and ball washer were moved on #4 to allow more access players using the green and blue tees.  Our team has also been clearing underbrush and has finished the tree line between 9, 13, and 14.  We have also completed the brush behind #1 green.  The staff is working on finishing the large 'low maintenance' area between 7, 6, and 16.  Our team removes undesirable, invasive species and cuts back other plants to allow for new growth. 

While on course today, I took some soil profiles to check plant health and root depth.  I wanted to see where we are now and was pleased with rooting especially in our drill and fill holes.  The following pictures tell the story.  Enjoy this week and the unseasonably warm weather.

Have a great day,


The soil profiler allows us to take a vertical look at the root zone and growing medium to a depth of 7 inches.  You can clearly see the drill and fill hole in this profile.  The light colored sand is the new sand that was introduced through the drill and fill process.  The dark colored sand is the original greens mix.  Small, young roots were present at the bottom of this drill and fill hole (~7" deep)
Once I lift the profile by the turf, excess sand falls off and reveals the root mass below.  This picture shows how beneficial the drill and fill process has been for rooting.  Roots are between 2 and 3 inches deeper in the drill and fill holes.  Rooting is acceptable in the original greens mix but is much more desirable in the drill and fill holes.  The drill and fill roots are dense, healthy, and strong.  More drill and fill holes will lead to firmer, healthier putting surfaces.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A New Year

The turf department certainly hopes everyone enjoyed the holiday season.  Our team was able to put the finishing touches on a few projects and are now currently working on new ones.  Our team installed the wire to the fan locations on holes 3, 4, and 6.  The calculations are complete and the wire has been ordered for the installation to holes 10, 11, and 13.  If you brave the cold weather, you will see that work beginning over the next few weeks.  Ground poles that hold the fans in place will be installed soon and we will be very prepared for the fan installations when they arrive early this spring.
2012 proved to be a good year for the golf course and was unusually warm.  We began with a very mild winter and temperatures near 80 degrees in March.  This was great for the TifSport tees and fairways.  The collars struggled coming out of dormancy and we had a few issues throughout the summer on greens #3, 4, 6, 10, 11 and 13.  This is the reason that these greens have been selected for new fans.  I think it is apparent that the fans installed early in the year on #1, #15 and the On Deck Putter had great results.  As far as the collars, we continued our aggressive aeration, topdressing and fertility programs and have moved to ride mowing greens in the colder months to alleviate stress and traffic.  The putting greens and #9 will continue to be walk mowed due to space restrictions around these greens.  These practices should yield better results in 2013.

This picture illustrates the lower impact that the riding mowers have on the collars.  You can see how the three tire tracks are the only thing that impact the collars.  These soft tires impact the collar with no turning (near the green) and really reduce wear and tear.  The cutting units are lowered onto the putting surface so those rollers never impact the collar.
The walkmowers, by design, are rear drum driven.  This rear drum impact the collar on every pass and must be turned in the collar.  This leads to a lot of wear and tear.  TifSport, the turf used for the collars, is very susceptible to traffic damage.  The design of the green complexes specifically in relation to the proximity of the bunkers around the greens leads to more wear and tear directly around the greens.    
A new tool in our arsenal this year will be in-ground wireless soil monitors.  These meters will give us information about soil moisture, temperature and salinity.  They will be a great tool to help us access water needs and the affects of the fans on turf health and soil temperature.  We carefully selected their placement and will use the information that we gather from these meters in conjunction with our hand held soil moisture meters.  This data will be very useful with regards to hand watering, labor reduction, and irrigation management.
The Wireless Soil Monitoring System is 6" x 4" x 3.5" in size and is installed directly into the greens mix.  This transmits information to a base station in our office about soil moisture, salinity and temperature.  We installed three different monitors on the golf course on three separate greens and micro climates to give us as much different information as possible.  We will be able to interpret this data to help predict hand watering and irrigation needs.
This is a repeater that has to be installed to transmit the signal from the monitor back to our base station.
These sensors were developed from military technology and are relatively new to the turf market.  These should increase our knowledge base as well as reduce labor and water inputs. 

On very cold mornings, our team has been working on equipment maintenance and golf course amenity refurbishment.  Winter maintenance is moving right along led by our Equipment Manager John Anderson.  Our assistant superintendents and crew members have lent a hand when possible but nothing leaves the shop without a thorough inspection from John.  It is a great opportunity for these team members to learn about the art of equipment maintenance from a veteran like John.  We are beginning the work on the hardscaping around the water coolers on 4 and 8 today.  Tree work will be held to a minimum this year with our team only removing dead trees and underbrush.  Our main goals for the winter 2013 will be the installation of the fan wire and the installation of drainage on holes 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 16.
Our team cleans, sands, repairs, and paints all hazard stakes, benches, bird houses, on-off posts, ball washers, tee markers and other course amenities. 

The beginning of the 2013 golf season is not far away.  Our large aeration process is currently scheduled for March 4-8 and should take between 4 and 5 weeks to recover depending on the weather.  Fans should all be installed by the end of April and sod projects will begin soon thereafter.  Our main project this spring will be renovating the entrance road to the club.  Irrigation, turf, and new ornamental beds need to be installed.  The 2013 season will provide its own challenges and opportunities for improvement.  Our team looks forward to these opportunities and is readying the golf course for the challenges.  Happy New Year and here's to a great 2013. 

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