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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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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

DryJect Complete

We have officially wrapped up our Spring aeration program.  The DryJect was completed yesterday on all 18 greens, the 3 putting greens and the nursery.  Thanks to Clear Vision DryJect and our devoted team, all of the work was wedged into 8 hours despite the snow on Monday.  The DryJect works by blasting high pressure water into the greens to create a channel and aerate the green.  Behind the water, the machines then inject dry sand into the greens to improve drainage and increase surface firmness.  One of the greatest benefits to this product is the lack of a need for much clean up.  The machines leave a very clean surface that our team then brushes, blows, mows and rolls.  This will be a process that we use in the spring and fall moving forward. 

The DryJect does not remove anything from the greens and thus leaves a very clean surface.  Our team keeps the machines full of kiln-dried sterilized sand.  The holes are on a 3"x3" spacing.
This is a vertical profile of what the DryJect is accomplishing.  Sand is injected to create a channel for aeration, drainage, and root growth. 
This is a vertical profile of the DryJect (left) vs. the Drill and Fill (right.)  Both processes amend the profile by putting fresh sand into the putting greens.  The drill and fill creates a wider hole and is much deeper.  The DryJect is on a tighter spacing and recovers much faster than the drill and fill.  Both processes will be employed in the Spring and only the DryJect will be done in the fall.  Core aeration is performed with both processes to remove thatch from the greens.
Have a great weekend,

Jordan Booth

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Breaking out of the Snow

The club received three inches of snow yesterday.  Most has melted off and I expect it all to be gone by the end of today.  Needless to say, we were not able to install the SubAir unit and have rescheduled that install for later in April.  Today our team will be DryJecting greens, finishing up a drainage project on #3, manually drill and filling greens, and installing mulch around the tennis courts.  The golf course is very wet and any work will  be done with extreme caution.

We are doing our best to push through with the DryJect today.  We will wait until all of the snow is gone and for the greens to thaw but we expect to get the bulk of the work done today.  The team from Clear Vision DryJect will be finishing another golf course tomorrow and then will be back to finish up the work here ahead of play.  The golf course will be open for normal play tomorrow and will adhere to a normal schedule for the rest of the week.  I will be posting more updates throughout the day about DryJect.  The weather seems to be shifting towards a normal spring over the next ten days so we look forward to seeing you on the course.

Have a great day,


Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Extended Stay of Old Man Winter

If you don't like the weather in Richmond, Virginia, just wait a day.  It will change.  The snow this morning really sums up what kind of month we have had.    Even though yesterday was technically the first day of spring, mother nature has decided not to cooperate.  It has been wet and cold with a smattering of a few warm days here and there to get our hopes up.  I for one, am ready for warmer weather.  (In July, I will be regretting this statement.) 

It has been two weeks since the drill and fill process and greens are growing as fast as we can push them.  They have been mowed and rolled a few times and recovery, though slow, is occurring.  Warmer weather will speed our recovery.  Our team has been busy with drainage projects, stump grinding, wire and fan installation, and with the installation of a new walk path to the first green.  To date, all of the fan wire has been installed and the concrete bases for the fans have been poured.  We will wait another 10 days for the concrete to set up before we install the fans.  The wire and drainage has been installed for the SubAir unit on #11 and the team from SubAir will be coming in April to help us finish that installation.   The five fans and the SubAir unit were delivered last week.  We have also installed drainage in front of and behind the 8th green complex and our team continues to manually drill and fill areas on putting greens. 
The five fans and sub air unit were delivered and will be installed over the next few weeks.  The SubAir unit is underground and not visible from the course.

The manual drill and fill process allow us to pinpoint areas for improvement.  We have focused on areas that typically stay wet,  high traffic areas and pin locations.  These areas should be drier, firmer and have deeper rooting.
The walk path to the first green was installed thanks to a generous donation from Collegiate High School. The school donated pieces that were left over from an athletic field installation and our team was able to put them to good use.  This should provide a safe, durable walkway to the first green.
The walkway was excavated down 4 inches.  Metal edging was installed to contain the material and maintain a hard edge between synthetic and real turf.  Crusher run was then installed and compacted to provide a sturdy, permeable base.
A porous, landscape fabric was installed over the crusher run to keep weeds out of the walkway.  Finally, the synthetic turf was installed.
After the synthetic walk way was installed, crumb rubber and sand were brushed in to stand up the grass and provide a safe walk way.  When good sod is available, our team will sod either side of the walkway.  Thanks again to Collegiate High School for the donation and to our own Dan Smith for researching and installing this product.
The golf course will be closed on Tuesday, March 26th.  During this time, our team will complete the greens aeration program that was scheduled two weeks ago.  During the closed days earlier this month, we experienced snow that prevented the completion of the process.  The process that is scheduled is called DryJectThis process is less invasive than a typical core aeration and will not delay recovery from Drill and Fill.  The DryJect does not remove any material so our team performed an additional core aeration this week to remove thatch.  We used very small tines to minimize disruption.  The DryJect does not replace aeration because it does not remove thatch from the greens but is a great process in conjunction with traditional core aeration.  The DryJect process injects sand into the greens and allows the greens to recover much faster than a typical core aeration.  This process will be performed in the fall of the year as well.  Here is an article that our late USGA agronomist Stan Zontek wrote about the use of DryJect at Congressional CC in preparation for the US Open.  
Sand is introduced and the profile is aerated through the DryJect sand injection.  Because no material is removed, bulk density is increased and in turn, firmness.  It is a great tool to introduce new sand into the profile, improve drainage, and increase surface firmness.
The year has been very productive so far.  As soon as the weather changes, the turf should kick into high gear.  Warmer weather will speed putting green recovery from aeration and will allow the bermudagrass to break dormancy and begin to grow.  Last March was abnormally warm and provided great growing conditions for our tees and fairways very early.  This year will be more typical with growth beginning in mid to late April.

Stay warm and have a great weekend,

Jordan Booth 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Drill and Fill

This week has been an overall success considering the amount of precipitation we received on Wednesday.  Our team, along with Harmon Turf Services, was able to complete the drill and fill as well as the .55" core aeration on Monday and Tuesday.  Low areas and drainage swales on greens were drill and filled twice to promote dry, healthy conditions.  The process was performed in different directions than last fall to minimize hitting the same holes.  Harmon used four machines this year which greatly sped up the process.  Harmon drilled 520,000 1" holes and backfilled them with 50 tons of sand.  Our team put 4,680,000 .55" aeration holes in the greens and backfilled them and topdressed with an additional 30 tons of sand. Our team will continue to put holes in low areas that hold water and back fill them with good sand.  On Tuesday, our team was able to put down soil amendments that the rain and snow helped incorporate into the greens.  It will take a while for the greens to recover but temperatures look great for growth starting tomorrow.  We will be allowing the greens to grow, unregulated, to fill the holes in as quickly as possible.

 Needless to say, with over 5 million holes and 80 tons of sand, the greens will be bumpy and sandy for at least the next few weeks.  We anticipate being completely healed over by the middle of April (warm weather dependent.)
In low areas that hold water or high traffic areas, our team is adding more holes in a tighter spacing.  These holes are 3/4" in diameter vs. the drill and fill holes that are 1" in diameter.  We use two identical templates.  The first one is used to drill the holes and remove the existing material.  Mr. Welles was kind enough to lend us a hand.
The next template is then placed over the holes and kiln dried sand is brushed into the holes.  It works quickly and efficiently.  We are able to put 2000 holes over 640 square feet into a green every hour.  This process introduces new sand as well as increases bulk density because more sand is put into the greens than is removed.  This leads to firmer, drier surfaces.
The downside to the rain and snow on Wednesday was that it did not allow us to perform the Graden process.  The golf course received 2.6 inches of precipitation and is very, very wet.  Another process will be substituted later this month to accommodate.  The Graden is a very aggressive process and pushing it much later would greatly delay recovery.  The other process, DryJect, will be detailed in the future and will be much less invasive. We will be using this process in the fall instead of a typical aeration or drill and fill.  This will virtually eliminate any disruption to our Fall golf schedule.

We have a very busy March planned outside of recovering from the drill and fill.  In March we will install TurfBreeze fans on holes 3, 6, 10, 11, and 13; install a SubAir unit at #11 green, DryJect greens, grind the stumps from our winter tree work, install a synthetic walk path to #1 green, and install drainage.  Our drainage goals this year include the entrance and exit to #3 fairway, and the approaches on holes 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, and 15.  Drainage work will push over into April.  We focus on the most in-play areas when making any decision regarding drainage.

It looks like Spring is right around the corner and with Day Light Saving Time this weekend, I expect to see a much busier golf course.  Please bear with us on the greens as we are working to heal them over as quickly as possible from the drill and fill process.   We greatly appreciate these closed days to perform vital agronomic practices that lead to the long term health of the turf.  The golf course will be open for normal play tomorrow, Saturday March 9.

Have a great weekend,

Jordan Booth

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