Anthony Dilulio and his team at American Underwater Services are experts in golf course pond cleaning and pond dredging. They often get asked how to keep golf course ponds clean and clear. Here are his 5 golf course pond management tips:
If you’re a golf course superintendent, managing the ponds and lakes can seem like a royal pain, especially with all the other responsibilities that you have. Water features can often feel like a hazard to both golfer and superintendent alike.
From keeping the grounds clean to making sure the ponds and lakes don’t suffer from a foul-smelling algae outbreak, there’s a lot to take into consideration. We’ve come up with a few pro-active pond management tips that can help make you—and your workers’—lives a lot easier.
Bodies of water can cause intense damage to the surrounding area by a natural process called shoreline erosion. Sedimentation and damaged banks can eat away at your course, leaving it looking unsightly and unkempt, no matter how much maintenance you perform.
A great way to prevent this from occurring is to add native plants, vegetation, and grass to the banks so that they provide a living wall that helps prevent erosion and shoreline damage. Over time, it can also provide shelter for a diverse ecosystem of plants and animals, which can help keep the water crystal clear.
Bad Odors and Algae
Nobody wants to play on a course where the pond on the 9th hole has a thick, unsightly layer of algae that gives off a horrendous odor. Nuisance algae outbreaks most often occur during the warm summer months and can take up many man-hours as the maintenance crews try to figure out how to deal with it.
That rotten-egg smell is hydrogen sulfide gas and is caused by bacteria eating the organic matter at the bottom of the pond. Throughout the year, leaves and other debris get swept down into the bottom of the water column, where they turn into a buffet dinner for all sorts of bacteria.
While fighting algae outbreaks with chemicals is an option, golf course superintendents should be aware that they can sometimes upset the natural balance of the water chemistry. A better option is to have your ponds dredged, which can remove hundreds or even thousands of pounds of organic muck. This will help stop the outbreak dead in its tracks.
While most aquatic plants help keep the ecosystem healthy and in check, others can choke the life out of a golf course pond. Invasive aquatic weeds will compete and outgrow native vegetation—to the point that nothing else will grow.
Yes there are many chemical solutions on the market to combat invasive plant species, however you should be careful about which ones you choose. If your pond system is used for irrigation, some chemicals could pose a toxic hazard to golfers and maintenance personnel alike.
Proper training of maintenance personnel is also essential. Teach your workers how to identify nuisance water plants as well as how to safely dispose of them. A single clipping that’s destined for the trashcan can easily find its way back into the water and start the nuisance outbreak all over again.
Crystal Clear Water
Keeping the bodies of water on your golf course crystal clear can present a considerable challenge, especially in the summer months. One of the best ways to get ahead of the problem is to have the maintenance workers take weekly water samples and perform water quality tests in-house.
The results of the tests will tell them when one or more parameters are getting too high, which will enable them to perform the necessary corrective actions that will keep the water clean and clear.
Stagnant bodies of water are not only prime breeding grounds for mosquitos but can contribute to degrade water quality as well. Most golf courses have aeration systems that help ensure water gets properly agitated and circulated. As a side benefit, they will also add oxygen to the water and help keep the fish and other aquatic wildlife safe.
Regular maintenance checks of the pumps and other mechanical equipment can help keep the unclogged and working correctly. It’s also best to keep the spare part on hand in case something breaks, as there can be long lead time for the replacements to be sent out.
Nation-Wide Golf Course Pond Dredging
At American Underwater Services, we specialize in helping golf course managers keep their ponds looking as good as the day they were first created. Our expert dredgers will help remove the organic sediment that causes algae outbreaks. This will ensure that your ponds and lakes look and smell pristine. Give us a call at (866) 594-1272 to learn more about how we can help save you time and money with our dredging services.