While warmer weather may seem far-off, water management specialist Otterbine is advising greenkeepers to be pre-emptive when it comes to the challenges summer can throw at water hazards.
Water quality is a critical factor in successful golf course management all year round, but with the arrival of summer comes warmer water, plentiful sunlight and excess nutrients; a combination that, without a proper water management system in place, can leave lakes and ponds with algae, aquatic weeds and odours.
But with Britain still in the midst of winter, Roger Lupton, Otterbine sales representative at distributor Lely UK, explains why it's vital to implement preventative measures now and not later.
"Oxygen depletion or stress situations occur for different reasons, but many lake management issues are related to both the light and heat generated by the summer sun," says Roger.
"Although we're a way off summer, now is the perfect time to be assessing potential challenges. Waiting until symptoms of poor water quality appear before implementing good water management could be detrimental to both the environment and greenkeepers' budgets," he warns.
Low oxygen levels, combined with minimal circulation, prematurely ages water and throws the natural ecosystem out of balance. Only then do symptoms of poor water quality begin to appear, which as well as algae, weeds and odours, include sludge build up and dead fish. These symptoms not only impact on the golfer's experience and the club's reputation, but the cost of fixative programmes far outweighs preventative measures.
Roger says: "It's vital that lake managers are fully aware of the financial implications of not acting until it's too late - once a lake has lost its ecological balance and goes into crisis, the costs of restoring the lake increase dramatically. As well as often being more expensive to implement, reactive solutions tend to be less friendly to the environment too."
Roger advises how to avoid an ecological imbalance, suggesting greenkeepers create an environmentally friendly programme that is preventative in nature.
"The most natural water quality management solution is to introduce aeration in to a pond or lake to eliminate stagnant water. That's where Otterbine's aeration systems can help," he says.
"By increasing oxygen levels and circulating oxygen rich water throughout a lake, water quality can remain high, inhibiting algae, aquatic weeds and foul odours."
Otterbine's aeration systems consist of aerating fountains, industrial aerators and diffused air systems - each with unique features that should be reviewed when determining the needs of your water feature.