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 30, 2014

Course Update

This winter has brought a lot of precipitation and cold temperatures.  This morning was 5°F when we got to the shop.  We have received a couple of good snowfalls that have stuck around and impacted not only the roads but our ability to work on the golf course.  Our team has been busy with winter projects, refurbishing golf course amenities, tree work, winter weather cleanup, and preparing for the installation of 4 fans on the golf course.

The cold, wet weather can really take its toll on the turf in the long run.  We have had 6 nights with lows below 10°F, over 11 inches of rain and 5 inches of snow since December 1, 2013.  Extended low temperatures and saturated conditions can damage the bermudagrass tees, fairways, and roughs and lead to thin or dead areas of turf.  This is called 'winter kill' and basically encompasses any damage to the warm season bermudagrass during the winter.  This damage is intensified in poorly drained or shaded areas and really puts a premium on drainage installation and shade management.  More information on winter kill can be found in the links below.  The second link "Winter-Kill and Responding to it Now" really does a great job of defining the ways that turf can be injured and parameters influencing susceptibility.

USGA Regional Update: Darin Brevard, Winter Injury Fears
Dr. Bert McCarty and Dr. Grady Miller: Winter-kill and Responding to It Now

We routinely test different portions of the golf course to get an idea of potential damage heading into Spring.  Unfortunately, we will not know the full extent of damage, if any, until the bermudagrass breaks dormancy.  Once dormancy breaks, we can then begin the process of making any necessary repairs.

Following the renovation in 2007/08, the young turf was more susceptible to winter kill.  Since then, the age and strength of our turf as well as shade management and drainage installations have contributed to less and less winter kill.  Our team does everything in our power to reduce the soil moisture, traffic, and stress that contribute to damage during winter dormancy and will work quickly to repair any damage that may occur.  The severe winter does not guarantee winter kill but cold, wet conditions are the major factors contributing to weak turf coming out of dormancy.

As always, we appreciate your patience during the winter delays and closures.  We certainly cannot play golf when the course is covered in snow or frost.  Only time will tell how the turf responds to the "polar vortex" this winter.  In the mean time, lets all pray for an early spring.

Jordan Booth, CGCS

The first storm of the year brought 2" of snow and lasted for about 7 days due to low temperatures.

The recent storm brought over 3" of snow with most of it lingering for 4-5 days.
When we have been able to work, the staff has done great job of preparing for fan installations and performing tree work.  Brian bit the bullet and got in the creek on 17 to help run conduit under the bridge.
This is the only time that I can remember large portions of the river freezing over.  My dog, Ginny has been able to walk across every pond and creek on the golf course.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Course Update

Welcome to 2014.  We are starting this year the same way we finished the last.  2013 was an above average year for rainfall at the club and I feel like the course has been saturated for months.  For the record, our annual rainfall in 2013 was 58" which puts us 16" above average.  It is currently raining and our staff is busy cleaning drain lines and pushing water off of turf surfaces with squeegees.  Our temperatures will be steadily dropping today with a forecast low of 9°F tonight.  This makes it very important for us to make sure all standing water is removed and all parts of the golf course are ready for the deep freeze.  Things seem to be getting back to normal after tomorrow but more rain is in the forecast which will keep the golf course very wet.  This time of year, our days are shorter (less sunlight), the temperatures are lower, the turf is not actively growing or taking up water, and the sun is lower in the sky (longer shade exposure.)  All of these factors contribute to the course staying wet for extended periods of time after rainfall.  Drainage projects, topdressing, and tree removal (opening up sunlight and air flow) are planned as usual to continue to improve quality and firmness of our turf surfaces.

This time of year is great for education on new products, industry trends, and university research.  Our team attends local and national conferences to improve our knowledge and skill sets.  There are not as many opportunities for our Equipment Manager, John Anderson as there are for the rest of our team.  This year, the club has invested in new fairway units.  John looked for information on these units but couldn't really find what he was looking for.  John took the initiative to work with our local Toro representative, Smith Turf and Irrigation to host a seminar on the new fairway unit as well as new reel technology and other equipment.  STI was kind enough to sponsor the event and provide a great equipment educator.  John invited other Equipment Managers from around the area and 20 other individuals came to the shop today for a great networking and educational event.  There are over 600 years of equipment experience sitting in our shop today discussing new improvements and asking great questions.  This will greatly benefit John as well as the entire industry.  I want to congratulate John on hosting this event as well as taking the initiative to educate himself on the new fairway units that the club has invested in.

We look forward to the new year and seeing you on the course.  Have a great week and stay warm,

Jordan Booth, CGCS

This is one of the three new fairway units that the club invested in this year.  We do everything in our power to take great care of this investment and maximize their operation and quality of cut.
John's organization of an equipment manager's seminar was a huge success.  Attendance, networking, and education were all excellent.  After 27 years at the club, John still embraces continuing education.

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