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, September 23, 2015

Course Update

Welcome to the first day of fall.  The weather has certainly changed and the golf course is very happy minus the need for a little rain.  Greens are recovering nicely following fall aeration.  Every green is in a little micro-environment and so every green is at a little different point of recovery.  Holes are healing over well and a good rain would really help at this point.  We are applying very small amounts of fertilizer every 4 days to promote quick and healthy recovery.  This method, know as 'spoon feeding', provides nutrients in small doses on small intervals to always give the plants what they need.  While core aeration is ugly and never fun to play on, the long term benefits are very important.

Since we cannot always count on rain for the turf, our golf course is equipped with a very complete irrigation system powered by two large horsepower pumps and one small pump used to maintain pressure.  On top of needing rain, one of our main irrigation pump motors has failed.  This pump was removed yesterday for repair.  A new pump will be going in shortly, but in the meantime, we are pumping water at half capacity.  With lack of rain and one pump, our team has been hard at work to keep all surfaces watered and healthy.  Please do your best rain dance and hope for the forecast rain this weekend.

This is the time of year to make our preventative applications for Spring Dead Spot.  Our team is using some newer chemistry to help prevent this disruptive spring disease.  We are trying one new product on the front nine tee and green complexes and another new product on the back nine tee and green complexes.  These new products are targeted at green and tee complexes due to the severity of spring dead spot in these areas.  The new products are more expensive so we want to know if the results justify the added expense.  We are still using our conventional, affordable products on fairways and adjoining roughs.  We hope to see differences that will help us make decisions moving forward.

On top of our in house testing, Virginia Tech is continuing research on holes 12 and 18 to compare spring dead spot control options.  The plots on the twelfth hole compare different chemical applications labeled for spring dead spot control.   The plots on the eighteenth hole compare different fertilizer options and timing that will aid in bermudagrass health, fall color, and spring green up.  These plots are very safe and please play from them.  The researchers at VT need 'real world' turf to research control options and we need their results to make informed decisions.  

As we head into the winter, our top 3 concerns are putting green health, collar health and spring dead spot control.  Working with Virginia Tech provides a great amount of information that we use and other courses around our region can put into use.  Currently, VT is researching fan productivity, spring dead spot control, cultural practices on collars, and fall fertility practices here at Willow Oaks.
You will see these lines and dots marking out a grid of research plots on holes 12 and 18.  You may have also seen work being performed with the fans this year.  All of this research is beneficial to both Willow Oaks and the golf course industry.  Please play out of these plots as if they were any other fairway. 
 Our team has a lot of other projects going on as we prepare the course for play and for winter.  Our team has been busy compacting and smoothing bunkers.  Bunkers require continual maintenance and this is a typical practice year round to maintain firm, playable bunkers.  Our team will also begin cutting tall grasses and plants around the ponds and in natural areas.  This is an annual maintenance practice to keep these areas from getting out of control.  If left to their own devices, natural areas would reforest and restrict views and play.  Overall, the course is playing well and healing over from aeration.  We continue to push for great conditioning and October is always the best month for conditions and weather in my opinion.  As a reminder, fall is the best time of year for proper fertilizer applications, aeration and seeding of tall fescue lawns in Richmond, Virginia.  Take care of your lawn and enjoy the golf course before it gets too cold.

Have a great weekend,

Jordan Booth, CGCS

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