From the Golf Course Superintendent’s Desk

Marc Francoeur

Here we are; it’s already June – WOW, where did the year go? With April finished, that will mark my first anniversary here at SunBird. The best decision I made was accepting the position to be your Superintendent. I am going to say to my wife Mickie, thank you for your patience; it’s not always easy for her when I transition into a new facility. This makes three for her. Hopefully, this will be the last one!

As you know, we aerified our greens a week and a half ago, and it went well; they are recovering very nicely. We also took advantage of the day and a half to aerate some of our tees that were in need of it.

I would like to thank everyone for your help and support for my Greens Keeper event, especially Jack (Coop) Cooper! The volunteers who helped with scoring, check-in, 50/50, coffee, mulligans and the gimmie putt strings; they all volunteered their time on an early Saturday morning! Let’s not forget about the chefs, the turf care guys! The turnout was excellent for the late date. Next year, we have the tournament booked for the third week in March.

I know everyone is aware of the unfortunate fish kill we had in early April. We were able to identify the cause, and corrective measures have been put into motion. The cause of the kill is from Golden Algae. This affects their gills and their ability to breathe. Golden Algae is new within the last 15 years. These algae are becoming a bigger and bigger problem, which means we will have to be more diligent with timing of our treatments to the water. For this reason and their expertise, I have decided to go with the “experts.” I have retained a lake maintenance company (H2ology) to test and treat our lakes on an as-needed basis. Along with their recommendations and their treatments, hopefully, we will not endure another kill like that! The biggest concern they had was our ability to oxygenate our water. I know you’re all saying to yourselves, “Marc doesn’t run the fountains enough.” Partly that is true. The reasons I don’t run the fountains more is that every one out there, but two, runs from the irrigation system. What that means is that we pull water from the lake on No. 9 and push the water up to the other lakes. How? Well, through the pipes underneath your feet through the pump station and out where you see it today. This method isn’t really giving us a good aeration of the water and, plus, the pumps are running all the time wearing them out, plus using up electricity! We are only moving the top one foot of water; if you’re like me and hit your ball in the water, you know they are deeper than that! The recommendation is to start using bubblers. Because of the costs to do this, we’ll identify the most-needed areas first and work from there. We will need to restock the lakes with beneficial fish like the carp to eat the weeds, and also bottom-feeders to eat the crud off the bottom. We still have some carp out there; however, they have outgrown their usefulness. When they get to a certain size, they really don’t eat that much anymore. Bottom line, this will take some time and some creative thinking on everybody’s part.