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Pond management on a golf course represents unique challenges. Golf course management best practices encourage daily turfgrass maintenance, but that very maintenance makes water features and irrigations ponds particularly susceptible to algae and major chemical imbalances. Still, with careful attention to small problems, you can avoid big pond problems altogether. According to Natural Environmental Systems, algae are the most common problem in golf ponds. The three basic types of algae of which you should be aware are:
- Planktonic algae: Free floating and microscopic algae that are common and harmless in small amounts – these give most ponds the characteristic green color and are part of the ecosystem in a healthy pond. These little guys are the basis of the food chain, dissolving oxygen that supports other aquatic life.
- Filamentous algae: This “pond scum” or “pond moss” is a type of algae with a furry appearance that grows on submerged rocks and logs, then breaks free of the bottom and floats to the top, creating an unsightly green mat. These algae have no real value for a healthy pond – they can and should be eradicated.
- Attached-erect algae: These tend to look like more highly evolved “vascular plants” – attached-erect algae mimics plants with leaf-like structures. Though less common than the other types, they can cause problems – snagging balls, clogging inlets and outlets, even acting as a danger to the legs or arms of unsuspecting (and hopefully rare) swimmers.
What Causes Algae in Golf Ponds? Excess nutrients can throw a pond out of balance. Fish excrement, grass clippings from regular course trimmings, uneaten fish food, and chemical runoff from fertilization methods tend to provide more nutrients than a healthy pond ecosystem can utilize – and that’s what allows algae blooms to move in. When sunlight penetrates shallow, clear ponds, those problems tend to be compounded. Golf Management for Pond Problems Super’s Choice recommends these steps to keep your little pond problems under control before they become big pond problems.
- Add Beneficial Pond Bacteria: Some bacteria occur naturally in ponds and lakes and are part of a healthy ecosystem. They help to decompose excess organic waste and manage water qualityconcerns.
- Add Natural Phosphate Binder: A plant-based phosphate binder neutralizes the phosphates that can lead to water quality imbalances. A good phosphate binder can act as a replacement for aluminum sulphate that’s free of industrial chemicals and more environmentally friendly.
- Maintain Proper Aeration: Use an aerator to make sure you have optimal levels of dissolved oxygen in your water features. Not only does dissolved oxygen encourage a healthy environment, but the motion created by the aerator helps you move water treatments effectively across an entire pond. The smaller the pond, the greater the need for an aerator – or even a fountain.
Take care of your course as an entire ecosystem. Balance the needs of your grass with the needs of your water features, and balance the needs of your golfers with the needs of your grass. Pay attention to small problems to keep them from ballooning into bigger concerns. Water quality is about balance – when something is a little out of balance, it can fall drastically out of balance in a short amount of time. Know what you’re dealing with and how to keep it under control, and you’ll be well on your way to healthy water features on a healthy course. To learn more about golf course management from professional who can take your course to the next level, visit eaglegolf.com today!
“YouTube golf” may seem like an oxymoron, but there are a wide range of useful videos that can help you pick a club, perfect your swing, or find exercises to help your strength and distance. If you like to play golf, spend some time on YouTube. A little online golf instruction can be a budget-conscious way to improve your real-world golf game without paying for pricey golf classes.
YouTube Golf: A New Generation
There is a whole new generation of up-and-coming golf pros with personalities as big as their skills. These boys put the “go” in golf. They’re jet-setters and top-notch players, but they’re also low-key, wisecracking kids who like to have a good time. You see them in “business mode” on the course, but you can see them in all their good-time glory on YouTube.
Here are three YouTube golf pros you won’t want to miss:
- Ben Crane: Ben Crane is a goofy-looking golf guru in red spandex (or is it neoprene?) in his video time off the course. Check him out in one of our personal favorites, as he explores his “slow golf” habit. You can also follow him on his website, bencranegolf.com.
- Bubba Watson: Bubba Watson is a good ol’ boy who never seems to stop moving. You can see him on YouTube golfing from a wakeboard, taking his bible study teacher on the road, and bringing his dad along for the ride in a private jet. This is a guy who likes to have fun but takes his game – and his values – seriously.
- The “Golf Boys”: Yes, we’re repeating ourselves here. The “Golf Boys” are Ben Crane, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, and Rickie Fowler. It’s the first “golf-pro boyband” – and they’re hilarious. Want a laugh? You gotta check it out. You’ve never seen buttoned-down golf pros look like this! They did this video last summer for charity, and we’re hoping for another performance.
Make Each Golf Game Your Own
Whether you want serious golf instruction or a little down-time fun with guys who know their way around a golf swing, YouTube is one of the least-utilized tools in a golfer’s virtual golf bag. Take your cue from these boys and have a little fun, on and off the course. Make the game your own, and you’ll be more relaxed every time you play.
Take the time to check things out on YouTube – you’ll be glad you did.
It’s no walk in the park to get that gorgeous, soft carpet of vibrant green that you see in a golf green. Landscapers and golf course management teams can spend entire workweeks keeping that luscious, carefully trimmed surface at a perfect lawn green. Whether you want to keep a professional green in order or build a practice green in your own back yard, here’s how to make it happen.
Prepare properly. Weeds can hurt the health of grass, as well as mar the appearance of that perfect, homogenous lawn. But many of the herbicides that kill weeds can also harm the grass. If you’re going to use herbicide, start by treating existing grasses and weeds at least three weeks before planting golf-green ready seed of choice.
Pick the right grass. The proper grass in the proper environment will grow well with only a little judicious help. Talk to a local nursery or turf specialist to find the best grasses for your area. In general, bentgrass species are well-suited for cooler climates. Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass are excellent, prolific choices in the warmest climates. And in multiseasonal climes, Zoysias are favored for their ability to thrive in hotter summers (with watering) and cooler springs and falls.
Overseed. In warmer climates, many warm-season grasses survive but go “off color” when the temperatures drop below 60 to 70 degrees in spring or fall. As grasses literally wither, excessive traffic can break off the crown of each blade, damaging the grass and resulting in bare patches the following year. The answer? Overseeding. Overseed with a second, cooler-season grass species that will thrive when temperatures are cooler. You’ll extend the growing season, have happier golfers, and protect the warm-season grass so that it comes back green and healthy the following year.
Water reasonably. According to the Agricultural Extension of Texas A&M University, greens are often overwatered. A green that’s too soft can have poor play, encourage weeds, and create problems with ball marks and shoe print. But a green that’s too hard won’t hold even a well-played shot.
Mow less height, more often. As a general rule, it’s best not to take off more than a third of the blade of grass when mowing. For some grasses with a short optimum height, that means mowing more often. If you lop off half a blade of grass to reach what should be the optimum growing height, you’ll actually be harming the plant’s ability to obtain nutrition for itself, increasing the stress that can lead to disease and yellowing.
Avoid too much nitrogen. If fertilizing is called for, pick a balanced fertilizer. A fertilizer with high nitrogen content can lead to quick, leggy growth, once again stressing the plant – and increasing the number of times you have to mow!