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5 Pro-Active Golf Course Pond Management Tips

Managing the ponds and lakes can seem like a royal pain if you’re a golf course superintendent, especially with all your other responsibilities. Water features often feel like a hazard to both the golfer and the superintendent. From keeping the grounds clean to ensuring the ponds and lakes don’t suffer from a foul-smelling algae outbreak, there’s a lot to consider. We’ve developed a few proactive pond management tips that can help make your—and your staff’s—lives much easier.

Shoreline Restoration

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 consume time as the maintenance crews try to figure out how to deal with it.

That rotten egg smell is hydrogen sulfide gas caused by bacteria eating the organic matter at the bottom of the pond. Throughout the year, leaves and other debris get swept to the bottom of the water column, turning 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 chemicals can upset the natural balance of the water chemistry. Having your ponds dredged is an excellent option. This process removes hundreds or potentially thousands of pounds of organic muck and will help stop the outbreak.

Invasive Plants

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 compete with and outgrow native vegetation so nothing else will grow.

There are many chemical solutions on the market to combat invasive plant species. However, you should be careful about which ones you choose. If you use your pond system for irrigation, some chemicals could pose a toxic hazard to golfers and maintenance personnel.

Proper training of maintenance personnel is also essential. Teach your workers how to identify nuisance water plants and how to dispose of them safely. A single clipping 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 summer. One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to have maintenance crews take weekly water samples and perform in-house water quality tests.

Test results will tell them when one or more parameters are getting too high, enabling them to perform the necessary corrective actions to keep the water clean and clear.

Water Circulation

Stagnant bodies of water are not only prime breeding grounds for mosquitos but can also contribute to degraded water quality. Most golf courses have aeration systems that help ensure water is properly agitated and circulated. These systems also add oxygen to the water and help keep fish and other aquatic wildlife safe.

Regular maintenance checks of the pumps and other mechanical equipment help keep them unclogged and working correctly. It’s always a good idea to keep spare parts on hand if something breaks, avoiding long lead times for replacements.

Nation-Wide Golf Course Pond Dredging

At American Underwater Services, we specialize in working with golf course managers to keep their ponds looking pristine. Call us at (817) 377-8512 to learn how our dredging services can save you time and money.




Anthony Di Iulio the founder, president and co-owner of American Underwater Services, Inc., started his business in 1999 with only three employees. Today this commercial diving company employs nearly 30 people and handles over 500 projects annually. Anthony moved to Fort Worth from Louisiana with his family in 1976. He worked summers during high school welding underwater for a marina on Benbrook Lake. Eventually he took scuba lessons after almost drowning on the job. Those lessons led him to training at a deep sea diving school in Houston, which included training on offshore oil rigs. Anthony spent several years in Louisiana working on offshore rigs and on inland jobs at power plants and dams before starting American Underwater Services, Inc.


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