Written by Industry Expert Brad Harris, Forest Biologist and Aquatic Specialist
If you have ever been to a PGA tour tournament, whether on the regular tour or the Web.com tour, you become instantly aware that it is a multi-million dollar production. The synergy is electrifying and you can feel that the massive greenside sponsor seating, neatly manicured clubhouse, TV production personnel and equipment, concession stands, thousands of fans, tightly mown fairways, and lightning fast greens are part of something big. It’s hard to imagine how something like this can come together so quickly and everything seems to have its place. It’s a spectacle whether you play or simply watch.
The amount of work involved in getting a course ready to host one of these events is mind boggling. The superintendents of these courses are in the top tier of their industry and rightfully so. Tour players’ expectations are really high. Trying to meet these expectations combined with some unpredictable weather patterns prior to the tournament would make most folks run for the hills, but these guys are tough, experienced, and smart. They know what it takes to get the job done and will do what is necessary to get it done. SOLitude Lake Management was able to do what we do best and help a couple of these superintendents get their ponds ready for two very large tournaments last summer: the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC and the Chiquita Classic at River Run in Davidson, NC.
We were hired in early 2013 to implement pond maintenance programs for the ponds on these two courses hosting PGA tournaments later that summer. We believe they chose us because we are also in the top tier of our industry and that they could count on us like the players, members, and fans who count on them every year. Our biggest challenge was no different than theirs — making the ponds balanced and looking good prior to and during the tournaments. Some ponds were easier to get into shape than others, which was mainly due to the type of nuisance aquatic vegetation each pond had when we started the maintenance program.
We were up against several species of pond algae and multiple invasive aquatic weeds, including a multi-acre pond that was 100 percent covered with watermeal. Those of you who have dealt with watermeal on your own pond know how stubborn, problematic, and expensive this aquatic weed can be to control.
No doubt the pressure was on, but our confidence was not shaken. The superintendents trusted and implemented our aquatic weed management recommendations and, as expected, we cleared their ponds well before the tournaments, including the one infested with watermeal. Unfortunately, the one pond had a planktonic algae bloom appear Tuesday before the Thursday start, so I was out on my boat until 8:30pm treating the pond to ensure the algae would be controlled for the tournament. Fortunately, we were able to control the algae and meet the expectations of the superintendent, despite nature’s last minute slice. The rest of the ponds were more cooperative and both courses had balanced and sharp looking ponds during the tournaments.
Further water quality methods and techniques are being implemented and considered at both courses for 2014 and we look forward to another year at both sites. We feel this year and subsequent years should prove to be less problematic as we continue to improve water quality and obtain substantial control of the nuisance aquatic vegetation. Although, as with any pond, we need to continue to be hypervigilant during our pond maintenance visits so we are aware and can react when nature becomes unpredictable. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with such high caliber clients throughout the region. We are excited about the 2014 golf season and hope to see you at the PGA events in North Carolina this year.
Brad Harris is a Forestry Biologist, Aquatic Specialist and Regional Manager for SOLitude Lake Management. Since 1998, SOLitude Lake Management has been committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Fisheries management consulting and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, pond and fisheries management needs.