“Of all the hazards, fear is the worst” – Sam Snead
Golfers often have a love-hate relationship with water features. Depending on your lie, they can be diabolical hazards or attractive landscape features. No matter how you choose to view them, streams, wetlands, ponds and lakes are integral components of many golf courses that serve a number of important functions; they provide water for irrigation, mitigate flooding by holding stormwater and can serve as important design features. Water features are rich, complex, living ecosystems that provide habitat for plants, animals and microorganisms.
Water features evolve over time and most require some level of management to remain in good condition. The maintenance practices used to manage a water feature depend on its age, size and depth, water source, how it is used and even its location.
Controlling aquatic plant growth is an important part of managing golf course water features. Algae and aquatic plants are important components of all water bodies, but when left unmanaged they can become unsightly and damage the health and functionality of a water feature. Herbicides and algaecides are the primary tools for managing aquatic plants and algae.
Cultural practices such as water circulation, aeration and mechanical removal also can be effective management tools. Additionally, there are several biological control agents being used to manage aquatic plants and algae.
A comprehensive strategy that includes cultural, biological and chemical management options provides the best opportunity for successfully managing aquatic systems. Comprehensive plans usually are developed with the help of aquatic system specialists that can help thoroughly evaluate water features.