Wednesday, April 17, 2024

April 2024 Update

The golf course is in excellent shape and primed for our final major event of the season, the Member Classic. 

We have been very busy over the past few weeks with detail work leading up to this event. Mother nature is likely to cooperate and offer some great weather allowing us to provide excellent conditions.

#13 Green - April 17th, 2024

Our putting surfaces are healthy and performing exceptional. Fairways, Tees, Approaches and Roughs are also in great shape. The El Nino weather phase that we have experienced this winter is seemingly over, as temperatures have been warmer with a reduction in rainfall observed. The extreme weather conditions have made things very challenging for us in terms of maintaining healthy turfgrass. This season in particular, we have modified maintenance practices and intensity levels in order to provide continued high-quality conditions without jeopardizing plant health.

We can enjoy the beautiful weather for the time being, however, the Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Nina Watch. This transition will likely take place over the next few months and into the summer, meaning less wind shear in tropical waters. This unfortunately means that an increase in hurricane activity this year is likely. 

With the warmer weather, we have been able to implement a more aggressive program on our putting greens. We have started to verticut and topdress greens on a biweekly basis, removing and diluting organic material, increasing turf density and promoting upright growth.

Fertilizing #8 Green in mid March

Our first closure of the year takes place on Wednesday, May 15th. We have a busy summer scheduled with small projects and routine maintenance practices. This summer, we will be adding bunker sand to numerous bunkers around the golf course to improve playability and aesthetics. We will also be focused on the removal of organic material in our putting surfaces through frequent verticutting and small-tine aerification. As putting greens age, organic matter accumulation must be addressed prior to becoming problematic. Our major aerification is scheduled to take place in July. Please see our 2024 Closure schedule below.

2024 Golf Course Closure Schedule

Our honey bee hives located behind Golf Course Maintenance are doing very well. We are hopeful to have our first honey harvest in the next few months. Once harvested, we will then bottle and sell fresh Copperleaf honey to our members. The proceeds from honey sales will be utilized to fund our continued environmental programs.

Our 6 honey bee hives are located behind the Golf Course Maintenance compound, in close proximity to the butterfly garden.

Hole #7 - April 5th, 2024

As always, feel free to email any questions, comments or concerns to

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Copperleaf Environmental Sustainability

I was recently interviewed for a turf magazine and one of the questions was "What should I know about Copperleaf?" My answer consisted of a general description of the facility, location, membership, etc. I also added the following comment: "Copperleaf maintains its designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary with an operational emphasis on environmental sustainability". At that point, I wondered how much our general membership knew of these routine environmentally conscious maintenance practices and efforts.

While I could probably write a small book going over our programs and how our operation positively impacts the environment, I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight some of the initiatives and programs that make Copperleaf unique. 

As a segway into the nuts and bolts of our initiatives and efforts, below is our "Environmental Policy", which summarizes our involvement with Audubon International and goals for positive environmental performance as it relates to everyday Golf Course Maintenance practices.

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf is an award-winning education and certification program that helps golf courses protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf. By helping people embrace the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations, the program serves an important environmental role. Copperleaf has proudly held Audubon Certification for the past 18 years.

In addition to our Certification with Audubon, I wanted to share some specific environmental initiatives and practices that demonstrate our continued commitment to environmental sustainability.

➤ We have two osprey platforms located on the golf course. There is a camera located on the platform in between holes #3 and #4 with a 24/7 video feed. New hatchlings are typically observed in the month of February each year. 
➤ There are 17 Birdhouses and 6 Purple Martin houses found on property. Common residents found this time of the year include Eastern Screech Owls, Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, Tufted Titmice, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers, Great Crested Flycatchers and Purple Martins. Additional birds found nesting include Bald Eagles, Osprey and Great Horned Owls. 
➤ Our butterfly garden is located between holes #3 and #4, just past one of our Osprey platforms. The butterfly garden includes dozens of pollinating plants and frequently produces many different species of butterflies.
➤ Recognizing the Florida Golf Course Best Management Practices Program, H.B. 967 was signed into law in 2022. We hold Certification with this program, and have also adopted our own Copperleaf BMP manual, which serves as a guide for us to conduct routine golf course maintenance practices while preventing contamination, waste, and habitat loss.
➤ We maintain a closed-loop water recycling system to wash off our golf course maintenance equipment. The recycled water utilized to wash equipment is filtered, free of grease, oil and contaminants. This provides a clean source for our equipment, keeping our operations in compliance with EPA regulations. 
➤ Our chemical mixing center consists of a self-contained area to mix and load chemicals prior to treatment. All spills are collected and managed using an in-ground sump pump basin. This prevents any pesticide leaks or spills from ultimately contaminating our water bodies.
➤ Aquatic plants can be found surrounding all lakes at Copperleaf. These beneficial littoral plantings provide habitat for fish and wildlife, serve as a filter by absorbing nutrients and contaminants, improve water clarity, stabilize our shorelines and enhance our overall aquatic ecosystem.
➤ Moisture meters are routinely used on the golf course to determine precise irrigation needs. Overwatering the golf course is an undesirable practice leading to less-than-ideal playing conditions. Greens are often hand-watered to ensure the correct amount of water is applied.
➤ Fertilizer applications are based on soil test results and plant needs. Overfertilization of the golf course is costly, environmentally irresponsible, and also produces undesirable playing conditions.
➤ We utilize Integrated Pest Management, which is a method of reducing overall pest management expenses and exposure by using a combination of tactics to control undesirable pests, such as cultural, biological, genetic, and chemical controls. Unnecessary applications of pesticides are costly, increase the development of resistance and can also present environmental concerns. 
➤ Wildlife Tours are routinely offered to our members and are led by Brian Beckner of Native Bird Boxes. Brian provides wildlife services to Copperleaf, including the care and upkeep of all bird boxes on property. 
➤ Lastly, Copperleaf will soon be utilizing the services of a professional beekeeper to manage honeybee hives on property. The location of our hives will be hidden from sight and completely safe for golfers and residents. Not only do honeybees provide valuable pollination services for plants on the golf course, but also provide honey that we will soon be able to sell, with profits returned to help sustain our environmental programs. 

Golf Course Superintendents are proud environmental stewards. We are fortunate to have a direct positive impact on natural resources, improving the environmental health of Florida. Copperleaf is a beautiful property filled with native flora and fauna. Our Golf Course Maintenance team remains committed to practicing environmental stewardship while continuously enhancing the overall experience for both our members and guests.

Below are some photos taken on property over the past few years.


Juvenile Bald Eagle

Tricolored Heron

Purple Martin hatchlings



Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Northern Flicker

Common Gallinule with hatchling

Osprey with hatchlings

Wildlife Tour

American Alligator

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

February 2024 Update

The golf course is currently in great shape and holding up to the increased amount of play very well. We have fortunately had some better weather over the past month, however, turfgrass growth remains minimal. Because of this, recovery from cart traffic, ballmarks, divots and all biotic and abiotic stressors remains slower than usual. 

Sunshine has been a warm welcome to 2024, but turfgrass growth is still limited due to the cooler temperatures.

I recently sent out an email blast to the membership outlining some proper golf course care and etiquette guidelines. The feedback from this email was overwhelmingly positive, so I thought it would be beneficial to share the highlights here: 

  • Repair ball marks on the putting greens. Proper ball mark repair includes inserting the tool at the edges of the ball mark and pushing in from the outside instead of prying up.
  • Fill divots with the mix provided in the golf carts. Our divot mix contains organic material utilized to help expidite the recovery process.
  • Keep all four golf cart tires on the cart path around tees and greens. Cart traffic is the number one issue working against us in our turfgrass growth efforts this time of the year. Keeping four tires on the path around tees and greens help protect the turfgrass along the edges of the cart path.
  • Utilize the 90-degree rule when exiting the cart path after your tee shot as you head toward your ball. Do not follow the cart in front of you and please avoid driving in the rough unnecessarily. Our fairways can withstand cart traffic and stress much better than our rough. This will also help maintain the definition in the fairway-to-rough interface.
  • Be careful when removing your ball from the cup once it has been holed. The hole is only 4.25" in diameter, which does not leave much room to retreive your ball without touching the edge of the cup. The slightest interaction between your hand the edge of the grass around the cup will damage the grass edge, leaving a very unsightly scar. 
  • Rake all bunkers after use and tap your shoes to clean them of sand before walking on the green. Enter and exit the bunker at the lowest point. After raking, place the rake with the "tines up" into the lowest point of the bunker, with a small portion of the bunker handle remaining on the turf. The handle should be facing down the fairway (parallel to play) to avoid interfering with incoming shots. 
  • Lastly, always remember to leave the golf course as YOU wish it to be found.
We greatly appreciate your continued attention to these routine golf course course care practices, as they greatly help in continuing to provide the high-quality golf course conditions we strive to achieve.

This image captures the cart traffic after a full day of play on hole #9. Less than 10% of all golfers have appropriately observed the 90-degree rule. 

Over the next two weeks we will be gearing up for the club championship. The weather over the past few months has shifted our agronomic plan from emphasizing turf performance to turf health, however, we are confident that we will be able to deliver championship conditions for this marquee event. 

Putting greens have remained in excellent health this year, despite the challenging weather conditions brought with El Nino.

Our landscaping and irrigation installation around the new pool cafe has been completed. We look forward to opening Ospreys and showing off our updated facility in March! We are now working on the planning and design aspect of the clubhouse landscaping. We will completing our work in this phase of the project over the next several months.

We are currently adding bleachers at the tennis courts located between courts #1 and #2. This new viewing area will mimic the bleachers previously installed between courts #3 and #4. Once the area is prepped, a paver base will be added and the new bleachers should be installed sometime in the next month. There has been a tremendous volume of play at our tennis facilities. We do ask that you please sweep the courts after use so they are properly prepared for play at all times. 

The osprey nest located between holes #3 and #4 has been very busy lately, with three eggs that will hopefully be hatching sometime in the very near future. The link to access our live video feed can be found here: Osprey Cam

We are hopeful to see the three eggs in the osprey nest hatch sometime in the next few weeks.

We have also recently installed a new osprey platform located behind the back tee on hole #17. Within days, this platform saw activity and there is already an osprey building a nest in this new location. This platform is visibile from hole #17, hole #13, the fitness center, pool and pool cafe. We are hopeful to install an additional camera in this location sometime in the next year. 

Our newest osprey platform was installed on February 9th.

This new platform will have visibility from many different areas of the club. We are hopeful that the nest remains active, as it is located in a prime osprey nesting site.

Our wildlife tours have been extremely popular this year. They are led by local ornithologist and wildlife expert, Brian Beckner. The next tour is scheduled for Thursday, March 21st, so please be sure to sign up!

Our Wildlife Tours are a great way to see the birds/waterfowl and other wildlife found on property.

As always, feel free to email any questions, comments or concerns to