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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Summer heat means more course maintenance

Monday, July 18, 2011

Darrin Newbold tees off from the fourth hole at the Windmill Ridge municipal course in Monett, part of the Tuesday Night Men's League activity. Each group began from a different hole to speed the completion of play to around two hours. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
The Windmill Ridge Municipal Golf Course is experiencing some of its busiest weeks of the year. The heavy traffic and the heat pose challenges for course maintenance.

Temperatures in the 90s come as no surprise to Mike Knight, director of golf at the course. The beginning of July last year began six weeks of temperatures in the 90s and problems for the course when improper watering of the greens caused them to "cook" and die off.

This year, Knight is watching the greens carefully. Greenskeeper Dave Gillaspy has two people assigned, each on different sides on Highway 37, to work from noon to 6 p.m. syringe-feeding water daily to each green every hour.

Once night falls, the course irrigation system waters the fairways and part of the roughs until morning. A computer directs the water flow, drawn from water treated at the city's wastewater treatment plant.

To further help the course, Knight said the greens are not cut quite as close as in the past, making them a bit slower. A growth retardant has been sprayed on the greens and the fairways to encourage more compact growth.

The course has responded to the treatment and generated compliments from visitors, Knight said. He felt optimistic about weathering the current hot spell. Knight was more concerned about the arrival of Japanese beetles that have begun burrowing into the greens, for which there is little defense.

A full schedule of league activity keeps the course busy. EFCO Corporation employees play on Monday. The ladies league plays on Tuesdays mornings and a men's league plays on Tuesday evenings. Jack Henry and Associates have a league that plays on Wednesdays. A ladies league and employees from Miracle Recreation Equipment and WinTech play on Thursdays. The mixed couples league plays on Fridays.

Membership has dropped this year, and the volume of play has been down for the first half of the season. Knight was optimistic that maintaining the quality of the course would stimulate return visits and result in a good season.

For more information about rates and scheduling league play at Windmill Ridge, call 235-6076.

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