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1. Pond Management
Course Superintendents are considered to be the managers of the grass
you play on when you are out on the golf course. As this is the truth,
their responsibilities run much farther and wider than most people
tend to consider. Superintendents are responsible for everything on a
golf course from the grass, to the fence that marks the property line,
to the tee towels and trash receptacles. Which brings me to the topic
of the article, that is the management of the ponds on the course
pond on a golf course represents many challenges besides being a
hazard for errant shots. Ponds are a habitat for many creatures in the
wild. Whether they are natural or man made, ponds contribute a variety
of things necessary to support life. They are used as a drinking
source for most, protection for others, mating ground, and food
source.Bodies of water on golf courses are also aesthetically pleasing
when properly maintained.With all of these things relying on the same
area for very important reasons, it is imperative for us as grounds
managers to ensure a balanced environment to cater to all them.
Along with creating an environment
for animals and people, having a healthy water source for turf grass
is also important. A healthy water source is beneficial to micro
organisms, roots and shoots of plants, the ration exchange capacity of
the soil and reaction and degradation of fertilizer and pesticide
products. The better the quality of water, the better the efficiency
in which all of the above work.
There are many things that work
together to keep a body of water healthy and able to support life.
Measuring the carbonate hardness (KH) and PH gives you valuable
information on where the health of the water source stands. KH is
measured in parts per million and PH measures the acidity and
alkalinity of the water. Simple test kits are available in many stores
that will tell you the proper thresholds for ponds with and without
fish in them. If an improper balance is found it is more important to
try and adjust the KH than the PH since if the KH is changed the PH
will be affected automatically. With an improper balance, the water
will not be as conducive to supporting life of any kind.
Some other things that help control
water quality are aquatic plants, fish, amphibians and micro
organisms. Each of these act like a filter for the water, taking up
excess nutrients as a food source, discourageing algae blooms and
creating a balanced enviroment.
There are some things that can be done
to help a ponds enviroment become or remain balanced that humans can
Applying fertilizer and
pesticides by hand near water sources or keeping your treatments away
from pond banks entirely will greatly reduce the chances of leaching
and run off.
species of plants and animals.
Installing surface or
sub surface aerators ( i.e. fountains)
Water dye to decrease
the effect of sunlight on algae blooms.
Allowing the banks and
area around the pond to grow naturally.
As you can see the managing of a
golf course property is far more than having the knowledge of creating
good turf conditions for players. It has become a study of many micro
environments rolled into one position allowing us to increase our
knowledge of many areas we would never have had the opportunity to
have learned about. It is why we enjoy the job that we have chosen.
(This was written by Michael Murphy, Sterling Golf Managementís Golf Course
Superintendent at Brookline Golf Club at Putterham Meadows and former
Superintendent at Sassamon Trace Golf Course in Natick.)