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, June 24, 2013

While We're Young

My last post, 'The Beginning of Summer' was written the day before my second son was born.  William Crawford 'Ford' Booth was born on June 6 at 2:21 p.m.  He was 23 inches long and 9 lb. 13 oz.  My wife Erin and the baby are both doing well.  Needless to say, it has been a busy couple of weeks around the shop.  Men's member guest, the RGA City Championship, and 6.5 inches of rain have all come and gone since Ford came into this world.  The golf course has held up beautifully and obviously our team has put in long hard hours for everything to run smoothly.  Thank you to our staff and management team for the hard work.  The golf course is drying down nicely and we look forward to normal summer maintenance for the next few months.  The drainage work this winter has paid great dividends and the greens have performed very well thanks to the DryJect and Drill and Fill work.  We have been very aggressive, as always, with venting and preventative fungicide applications during these hot, wet periods. 

My two sons, Jack and Ford (yawning)  He wouldn't yawn if he slept more.  This too shall pass....I hope.
When raising children, you always think about activities that you hope they participate in.  I know that I want my children to play golf for all of the good reasons; competition, discipline, honesty, humility, and above all Fun.  In order for all of our future generations to enjoy this great game, we need to continue to grow it.  I am excited about what the golf professionals here at the club are doing to grow this game through summer camps, junior leagues, clinics and lessons.  We all need to commend Richard White, our Director of Golf, who has developed this program in conjunction with the Golf Committee for helping to grow the game.

The USGA, PGA tour, GCSAA, CMAA and other entities have really been vocal this month about improving the pace of play and in turn growing the game.  I encourage you to try some of the advice from the USGA's website and enjoy the game.  Sign the pledge, speed up your play and in turn, play more golf.  Play 9, 12 or 18 holes.  Our course actually sets up great for that.  I for one, love to Tee it Forward and play a comfortable distance.  Trust me, it doesn't allow me to set course records, but it does speed up play and makes the game much more fun.  If you ever want to shoot par from the championship tees, you sure better be able to do it from the 6300 yard tees first.  One great way to improve pace of play is to improve your game and play ready golf.  To improve your game, ask Richard, Ryan, or Patrick in the Pro Shop about a lesson.  I think you will be very happy you did.  One key element of pace of play is golf course setup.  We try and make the course as playable as possible and believe it or not, we try and keep the golf carts 90 degrees whenever conditions allow.  So please, pledge to speed up the pace of play, have fun, and help us all to grow this great game.  Now.  While We're Young.

Have a great week,
Jordan Booth

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Beginning of Summer

Last week, summer weather arrived in Richmond.  This is great for the Green Surrounds, Tees, Fairways, and Roughs as well as recovery from Spring Dead Spot.  The highs were near 93 but overall conditions were dry and pleasant.  As we get into higher temps and higher humidity, things won't be so comfortable.  The course has really been taking shape over the last few weeks and our team has been busy with a few projects such as sodding behind #18 green and installing irrigation and sod along the entrance road to the club.  Two things that I am seeing on the course are Spring Dead Spot and great rooting on our putting greens.  Both are challenges that we are always working to improve. 
The failure of the tree behind 18 green was a terrible loss but did open up the clubhouse putting green to full sun exposure in the critical morning hours.  This practice putting green has never looked so good.  Please utilize this green for putting, chipping, and pitching.
Our team is finishing the sod installation behind 18 green today.  The mulch bed and fescue under the large Willow Oak have now been replaced with TifSport bermudagrass.

Some people may have noticed the fox family around 10, 11 and 13 greens.  Please do not feed or disturb these animals.  We are lucky to work and play in such a natural environment.  I see heron, eagles, osprey, ducks, turtle, deer, fox, and squirrel on a daily basis.
The front entrance road has needed a facelift for some time.  Our team installed irrigation and sod along the west side of the road.  More improvements in the form of plantings will be made this fall.

The occurrence of Spring Dead Spot has been high this year.  Cooler weather has slowed recovery especially on the teeing grounds at #17 and the approach to #16 green.  This area, in my opinion, is the worst on the golf course.  Fertility applications and cultural practices are ongoing to speed recovery.  In the past, our fungicide options have been limited due to cost.  This year, we will be making a split application of a fungicide to prevent the occurrence of spring dead spot next year.  We should still see these areas in the first year but recovery should be much faster and by the second year of applications, the affects of spring dead spot should be limited by 60-85%.  Last year, we used the front half of #16 fairway as a test plot and sprayed three different applications of fungicide in the fall when the disease is active.  We have seen a great reduction of spring dead spot and very fast recovery on this area.  We also learned a lot about application timing, rates, and method.

Spring Dead Spot on 17 tee
You can still see the presence of spring dead spot in #16 fairway where we sprayed fungicides.   These areas are fewer and further apart and are recovering very quickly compared to untreated areas.  Another round of applications this fall should come close to eliminating the issue.  This was by far our worst area last year.
We are also changing one of our fertility applications this year to an organic product that should have long term benefits for the soil to help ward off disease.  When we apply the fungicides, we will also apply a wetting agent to help maintain soil moisture throughout the fall.  One observation that we have made and talked to the USGA about is the occurrence of spring dead spot on high areas and our sand based tees.  These areas are obviously drier.  From talking to researchers and the USGA, no real research has been done about why this is so, but my hope is that maintaining soil moisture will help reduce the occurrence of Spring Dead Spot.  We will have check plots without wetting agent to test this theory.  These practices, performed over multiple seasons, should help eliminate spring dead spot. 

Rooting on our putting greens has been much improved since last year due to an aggressive drill and fill and DryJect program.  Fans around greens as well as proper management practices have helped promote dense, healthy rooting and push the roots deeper.  Getting more sand into the rootzone at different depths has given the roots somewhere to grow.  We will be expanding our cultural practices over the next year to incorporate more sand and at different depths.  The evidence has been astounding, especially in drill and fill holes.  Our methods are obviously working and deeper roots will lead to healthier turf.
Darin Brevard, our new USGA Agronomist noted the great rooting in the greens during his Spring visit. 
These roots came out of the first green when we installed a new TurfGuard soil sensor.
These roots were pouring out of a cup cutter on #11 green.  This is obviously where we have a drill and fill hole.  These roots are dense and healthy down to a depth of about 9 inches.
Another example of great rooting in a drill and fill hole on #16.  We will perform more drill and fill as well as deep tine aeration moving forward.  We will not be drill and filling greens in the fall due to the disruption to the putting surface that this process creates.  We will be DryJecting and core aerating the greens with minimal disruption.

Have a great weekend,

Jordan Booth


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