Josh Mahar — Certified Golf Course Superintendent

Learn more about Josh below:

I am Josh Mahar, Certified Golf Course Superintendent at Wild Horse Golf Course. I helped construct and grow in the course and have worked here since its inception in August 1997. My start in golf course maintenance goes back 31 years to when I took a summer job at my hometown Chappell Golf Club. That experience eventually spurred a further interest in the golf course management field. After my sophomore year in college I realized that being a superintendent was the career for me. I went on to garner my BS in Horticulture-Turfgrass Option at University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Luckily my internship during college was at Sand Hills Golf Club. I was part of the team that constructed and grew-in that course in 1994. Upon graduation I returned to Sand Hills as Assistant Superintendent for two years before Dan Procter and Dave Axland asked me to come down to Wild Horse for a great opportunity. It has been a joy to manage this great property and I still love to see her
shine.

My team of 7-8 people during season is responsible for all groundskeeping duties here at Wild Horse. We take great pride in presenting the course to the golfer in its best possible condition for that day. We really enjoy that so many people come out to recreate and have fun away from the trials of everyday life. Seeing people enjoy their time out here is very rewarding for all of us. I am married to Amy and we have one son Eli, 14 and that beast beside me is Baylee. Her duty here at
Wild Horse is to keep all rabbits and gophers honest.

Summer is starting to fade away which means aerification season is just ahead.  The schedule follows:

August 18-22 Fairways

August 26-27  Greens surrounds

September 4-5 Tees

October 14-15  Greens (same as we have been doing with small ¼” tines)

This schedule is pretty much the same as we have done previously so you can expect similar conditions as last year.

Everyone keeps telling me how easy it must be this summer with all the rain.  Well we haven’t ran much irrigation but that hasn’t decreased the workload any.  The heavy rains have kept us busy fixing cart paths and bunker washouts.  It may look like everything is fine once you arrive, but the crew has been busy putting the place back together.  The rain and continued wetness have also increased disease pressure but we are trying to weather that storm until better drier weather arrives.

 

Summer just keeps rolling along and I apologize for not doing an update in June.  Days are flying by and we have already arrived at Member-Guest weekend.  This has become a very popular tournament and we always hope to have the course peak at this time.  It is good timing for that as the heat of summer hasn’t taken a toll on the turf and the wooga is shining with wildflowers.  This year’s participants will find some receptive greens as recent rains have kept the greens softer than usual, but they are still rolling nicely.  We don’t do too much different for the event other than a double cut Saturday and maybe another roll on Sunday just to get them rolling a foot faster than our normal green speed.

 

Our normal summer routine for mowing is greens daily, tees and collars 2x/week, and fairways 2-3x/week.  Traps are raked usually on Monday and Friday unless rain necessitates more attention.  Add in weekly rough mowing, and this keeps the crew of 7 part timers busy mowing away.  They get a lot done in short order and I am thankful for their help.

 

I mentioned the wooga and the abundance of wildflowers earlier and it has been a stellar year for spiderwort and larkspur shown below.  We have mowed a couple more passes around the fairways to try to keep those areas more playable and we will begin mowing more rough this week and continue through July to keep the “wooga” in check with all this rain.

Speaking of rain we have had a lot.  Only irrigated two nights in June (other than watering in product).  This has been a blessing (reduced irrigation demands) and a curse (increased workload fixing bunker and cart path washouts).  The turf looks great now but I am expecting more root diseases as we enter the summer season due to the constantly waterlogged soil we have experienced in May and June.  Brown Patch (shown below) while not a soil borne pathogen has already shown itself on ryegrass in collars and I think that has been due to the excessive moisture we have seen lately.  In other words the course looks as good now as it will for a couple of months until we head into fall.   That being said we still expect great golfing conditions coming up this summer.  Hope you can get out to the Horse and enjoy.

This will be the first of a regular installment that will hopefully keep you more informed about what is happening on the course.  We hope this delivery through email or social media will reach more of our golfers.

I will briefly review conditions on the course and preview what will be happening in the future that may impact your golf game. This will be a quick update, but for more lengthy discussion of pertinent topics you can visit my blog at https://whgcturf.blogspot.com/  which can also be accessed on the Wild Horse website under the News tab by clicking Superintendent News.

Now on to the report.  Snow is still covering the entire course with more on the way.  We have had great moisture and snow cover for most of the winter and expect greens to respond favorably this spring (if it ever arrives)!  Expect some thinning on #1, 6, 7, 12 fairways as we aggressively treated for Poa annua late last fall.  The rest of the fairways should be good except for some ice damage in low drainage areas.  We will have to wait for melt to assess how much damage may have occurred.

Opening day will not be March 1st -stay tuned as conditions change but it will likely be mid-March.

Aeration Schedule for this spring

  • April 1-12:  Fairways (one or two holes per day)
  • April 15-16:  Greens surrounds
  • April 22-23:  Tees
  • May 6-7 Greens:  (mini tines)
  • May 8: Topdress Greens