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.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Recent Questions

Spring is here and even though night time temperatures have dipped below 40 a few times this week and even below 30 last week, the golf course is starting to break dormancy.  Next week brings warmer temperatures and the golf course will really flush out with new growth.  Refurbished and new amenities including our 'in-season' set of wooden tee markers are back on the course.  The wooden acorn tees, used for special occasions, were also refurbished this year.  Our team has mowed the tees twice and greens are recovering nicely from spring aeration.  Fairway mowing is taking place as I write.  As members and guests frequent the course more and more, our team receives questions and we are happy to answer them.  Here are a few that may help to share.
Our team is mowing select fairways.  While the grass isn't aggressively growing now, it has greened up.  Warmer temperatures next week should allow for faster growth rates.

These tee markers are reserved for special events and were totally refurbished this off-season.  

1.  Why did we aerate the greens twice?

We were closed Monday, March 21- Wednesday March 23 and Monday, March 28 - Wednesday, March 30 for our spring aeration.  Over the last few years, we have chosen to be aggressive in the spring of the year to set the greens up for a healthy golf season.  This year was no different and we decided to aerate twice in the spring and we will limit our fall aeration to a very small tine with minimal disruption.  This practice will minimize disruption to the playing surfaces throughout the year and set us up for a great spring, summer, and fall golf season.
This picture of the greens soil (profile) shows the sand filled channel left from aeration.  You can see the roots pouring out of the bottom of these channels.
This picture shows the current state of the greens 2 weeks after aeration.  Holes are covering over nicely.  We are now alternating daily mowing and rolling as well as weekly topdressing to smooth the surface.

2.  How are hole locations and tee placements decided?

Hole locations are decided daily based on a chart (shown below) that we have devised to evenly rotate pin placements throughout the green and to try and have an even number of front, middle and back pins throughout the golf course.  Every day, our team uses this chart to decide the depth of the pin placement i.e. +4 would be 4 paces beyond the center of the green.  Then the team member uses a 4 foot digital level to find a fair hole location on that particular depth.  If the hole location is the center point of a circle, each 4 foot radius of that circle must have less than 3% slope insuring a level hole location.  These locations are at least a flag stick away from the edge of the green.  Tee placement is a little less complicated but based on the daily hole location.  If the pin placement is +4, tees are moved four paces forward from the tee yardage plate to make the hole the same length as the scorecard.  This is easily done with the blue and green tees because these are the largest teeing grounds.  The silver, gold, white, and black tees are moved daily but do not have as much diversity in options.  Team members are given the decision making responsibility to change tee locations and hole locations based on weather, turf health, and traffic.          
This is the chart that our team uses to select hole locations.  The chart gives the depth and the flag color while the team member chooses the hole location in a fair, flat location on the given depth.  Day 1 = March 1, 11, 21, and 31...Day 2 = March 2, 12, and 22, Day 3 = March 3, 13 etc.
The digital level lets us know it the area is 'flat' (<3% slope) around the hole location.  It is a great teaching tool and measurement tool for fair, consistent pins.  Disclaimer:Even if the area around the hole location is flat, it doesn't mean that it is an 'easy' hole location.

3.  What is the current condition of collars and Spring Dead Spot?

So far, so good.  It is a bit early to make a final call on this.  We will reserve total judgement until we have had consistently warm temperatures but for now, we are very optimistic.  While there are some very high traffic areas on collars that will need to be sodded, our cultural practices and new grass types have greatly improved turf health coming out of this winter.   Sodding will take place on closed Mondays in May.  Our Spring Dead Spot programs seem to be paying dividends.  We are seeing very little damage caused by this disease.  Once we have a full 'green up' we can make the final call on these two annual aggravations.

4.  When will carts be allowed off the path and when will we move off of the artificial range tee?

Cart traffic is restricted to the path every winter to protect the dormant turf and provide the best winter golf conditions possible.  Once we have mowed all of the fairways and temperatures are consistently warm, we will go 90 degrees on cart paths.  Barring any rain fall, I would anticipate this being next week.  Moving off of the artificial range tee usually coincides with cart paths.  This past weekend, the range tees really took a beating from the low temperatures (~26°F).  This may delay using the tees until they are actively growing.  We anticipate being off of the artificial tee by the end of the month.  Once again, this is a practice that protects the limited grass practice tees and provides better conditions during the golf season.

5.  When should we expect the golf course to be green and the putting greens to be totally healed?

Hopefully soon.  The cold nights have delayed spring green up and recovery from putting green aeration.  We are 15 days out from out last aeration and greens are recovering slowly but nicely.  The 10 day forecast looks promising for growth starting Sunday with daily highs above 70°F and lows above 40°F and a definite warming trend.  We really anticipate the golf course looking much different in 10 days once air and soil temperatures rise.  If the favorable forecast holds true, greens will be completely healed over and putting very smooth in the next 10-14 days.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the course,

Jordan Booth, CGCS

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