Divot Repairs on Tee and Fairway Areas

Many of our Members grew up playing golf in the northern climate zone on cool season turf such as ryegrass, bluegrass or bent grass used on fairway and tee surfaces. Divot repair with these varieties of grass is much different than repairs to our warm season bermudagrass playing surfaces.

While on cool season turf the actual divot is replaced or a sand seed mix is used to fill the divot. On our warm season turf it’s best to just place a small amount of plain sand in the divot. The sand should be smoothed out with your foot or golf club and not left in a pile. This will insure a smooth surface and not cause damage to our mowing equipment. Our rental carts are now equipped with sand buckets and scoops for your convenience. If you don’t have any sand available, the next best method is to use your club or foot to gently push or kick the surrounding turf toward the divot hole. Although this will not make the divot completely level, it stimulates the turf to send runners out which will cover the divot faster than not making any type repair.

Your maintenance staff and fellow golfers appreciate your help and cooperation in this effort.

Communication Methods

As we embark on a new year as the POA Board of Directors, part of our duties includes: being well-informed on issues concerning the Association; listening respectfully to other points of view; and to educate ourselves on the needs and concerns of the entire POA Membership.  We take these duties seriously and ask that each resident consider doing the same.

There are numerous ways to stay informed on POA happenings and we encourage everyone to take advantage of these opportunities:

  • Weekly e-newsletters to the general POA and Golf; Monthly e-newsletters to specific interest groups (Recreation and Lakes). You may sign-up here: bellavistapoa.com/signup/
  • Facebook posts from three pages: POA, Lakepoint and BV Bar and Grill; we are also starting up an Instagram page for those interested
  • Monthly Coffee & Questions with Tom Judson (second Tuesday of each month, 10 am) at the Country Club Board Room; Keith Ihms, Director of Golf Maintenance and Phillip Wright, Director of Golf Operations, join Tom each month
  • Monthly Connections newsletter in your water bill
  • Quarterly magazine: Inside Bella Vista
  • Open Board meetings every month: Working Sessions are held the 3rd Thursday at 8 am and the Board Meeting is the 4th Thursday at 6:30 pm. Both meetings are held at the Country Club Board Room. Minutes from these meetings are available on the POA website. Both meetings are live-streamed to Facebook. (Exception this month for the Working Session held on June 19).
  • “In the Know” – JB Portillo, BV resident and volunteer, hosts a recorded show that is a follow-up to each monthly board meeting. Each session is posted on Facebook and will soon be shown on BVCTV
  • POA website has a tremendous amount of information and resources; there is a Contact Us page allowing you to submit questions – bellavistapoa.com/contact/
  • Email or call Tom Judson, COO, at tomj@bvvpoa.com or 479.855.5010. He is more than willing to speak with residents’ one-on-one. And, he is willing to give a speech/talk at your community club or church.

We look forward to a fresh start with new board members Mary Sinkus, and Jerry Hover and Mike Abb. Please help us by staying informed on the facts that are covered in one of the areas noted above. We are not perfect people but our individual and team commitment to Bella Vista has never been stronger.


Ruth Hatcher, Chairperson

POA Board of Directors

Species Profile: Lepomis gulosus – Warmouth, Goggle-eye, Red-eyed Bream

Lepomis gulosus – Warmouth

Scientific Name: Lepomis gulosus

Common Name(s): Warmouth, Goggle-eye, Red-eyed Bream


The warmouth Lepomis gulosus is commonly mistaken for the rock bass Ambloplites rupestris; however, the two species can be easily distinguished from one another.  The warmouth has 3 anal spines, as opposed to 5 or 6 found on the rock bass.  Warmouth can be distinguished from other sunfish by the 4-5 dark lines that radiate backward from the eye and looks like “war paint.”  Adult warmouth are olive-brown on the back, sides, and fins and mottled heavily with dark brown, while juveniles and smaller individuals can have a purple tint.  The belly is a light yellow, and the iris of the eye is red-brown.  There are 10-11 sharp spines in the fin on their back.  Their mouth is large and they have a small patch of teeth located on the tongue.  Adults rarely get larger than 8inches in length or 0.5lb in weight.  The current state record is 1lb 8oz (Black Dog Bayou).



Lepomis gulosus is native to the Great lakes and Mississippi River basins from western Pennsylvania to Minnesota, and south to the Gulf Coast.  In Arkansas, it is widely dispersed in all major water bodies, but it is more common in the coastal plain lowlands.  In mountainous areas, it is more common in lakes and ponds as it prefers slack waters.


The warmouth is considered a warm water fish, preferring summer water temperatures of 80-85°F.  They favor calm, clear water bodies with mud bottoms, thick growths of aquatic vegetation, and submerged timber.  Although not preferred, warmouth are able to tolerate reasonable levels of turbidity and rocky bottoms found in many reservoirs.

In Arkansas, warmouth spawn multiple times from April to August when water temperatures range from 65-80°F, with peak spawning usually in June.  Warmouth do not spawn in colonies unless nesting habitat is limited.  The male will build a nest by fanning his tail and making a circular indention on the bottom near submerged timber or other objects.  The female will deposit eggs while the male fertilizes the eggs and guards them.  The male aggressively defends the nest until the fry swim off, usually around a week after spawning.  Maximum life span of warmouth is about 7 years.

Warmouth are strongly predacious and consume smaller fish, crayfish, and aquatic insects.  The warmouth is commonly known as a “goggle-eye” to many anglers and are important game fish in lowland waters.  Warmouth are quick to attack natural or artificial baits, but they tire quickly after a strong initial strike.

Special Notes:

Here in Bella Vista, warmouth can be found in the lakes, most commonly Windsor, Lomond, and Avalon.  They also occur in larger pools in Little Sugar Creek.  Fishermen hoping to catch a warmouth can use a variety of natural or artificial bait, including earthworms, grubs, small fish, crickets, jigs, and small spinners.  Fishing near logs, stumps, and other submerged timber or vegetation would be helpful.  Remember to always be careful of the sharp spines on their back when taking them off a hook.

Seeding Winterkill Areas

It is well known that Bella Vista had one of the harshest winters on record. Many Bermudagrass areas were lost due to the cold, dry winter. We have replaced numerous lost areas with truckloads of sod and have also fertilized many areas to encourage recovery. However, since Mother Nature decided to skip spring and go straight to summer, we still have areas that need attention on our courses.

You will notice an area at BVCC, in the left rough on #18, has been roped off. This area has been seeded with Riviera Bermudagrass, one of the few cultivars that are available in seed. We have connected two temporary sprinklers to our irrigation system and have built a program that will turn these two sprinklers on for 10 minutes every two hours. Once germination occurs (the stage where you physically see the green turf emerging from the seedling) we will be able to reduce the frequency of water. It is crucial, that while we attempt to grow in this area, that you play it as “ground under repair”.

It is our goal, this summer, to not only repair this area, but also, a few other Bermudagrass areas around the course. This fall we will switch our focus to fescue areas. We have several areas at BVCC that are thin or even bare underneath trees. Bermudagrass requires at least 8 hours of sunlight every day. Fescue, the most shade tolerant of all grasses, only requires 4 hours of sunlight per day. These areas will present a little more of a challenge to grow in because the fescue will be competing with the tree roots for water. But with your help and cooperation, we are confident that we will enhance these areas with more turf coverage.

Thank you for your cooperation as we strive to make our courses the most aesthetically appealing and playable as we can. We look forward to successful results!

Watering Alert: Change in Process

Battling the Summer Heat on Bentgrass Putting Greens

By Rob Dreesen, BVCC Golf Superintendent


As the temperatures continue to rise, you will notice our attention to greens rising as well. You will often run into “greens checkers” as you play your round. Contrary to popular belief, we are not trying to get in your way and ruin your round! We are simply just protecting the plant from dying. It is a complex process that is much more complicated than just watering the greens at night. We have to maintain adequate moisture throughout the day and also cool the plant when necessary.

Some of the courses throughout the POA use moisture meters to help determine what amount of water the plant needs. You will see the greens checkers carrying devices that look similar to a pogo stick. Other courses have different techniques that they use to determine what needs to be watered and what doesn’t. But we all have a common goal in that we strive to keep the greens as dry as possible without causing stress to the plant.

Another similar technique is “syringing” the greens. Syringing can also be called, misting. When we mist the greens we are simply keeping the plant cool. Research has shown that when you disperse a very light layer of water over the surface, it cools the plant by 10-15 degrees! Think of a misting fan or machine at outdoor restaurants or on the sidelines of a football game. These are there to keep people cool. This is the same approach we are taking on the greens, which can have a huge effect on the health of the plant.

By spot watering and misting greens throughout the day, we prevent the greens from being overwatered. If we only used our irrigation heads at night, we would be overwatering the plant which would lead to the following effects:

  • Plant Health
    • Roots shrink, causing the plant to be stressed
    • Areas with excessive water are warmer than areas with adequate water, causing the plant to be stressed
    • Greens are soft causing the mower to scalp, causing the plant to be stressed
  • Golf Playability
    • Greens are soft, causing more ball marks
    • Greens are soft, causing slower and inconsistent speeds

As you can see, hand watering and syringing throughout the course of the day is necessary for all of us to achieve our goals of having firm, healthy, and smooth putting surfaces. Please keep that in mind on the next round that you run into a greens checker. It is our goal to have the healthiest and best putting surfaces than we can, while also staying out of your way and letting you enjoy your round. However, time is critical, and sometimes we will need to get the green watered before you hit your shot into the green. We try our best to not disrupt the same group over the course of your round, but in the case this does happen, we apologize and it is certainly in the best interest of keeping our turf healthy. Thank you for your patience during these hot and very critical days.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to talk to us while on the golf course. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Thank you!

Species Profile: Lepomis microlophus – Redear Sunfish

Scientific Name: Lepomis microlophus

Common Name(s): Redear Sunfish, Stumpknocker, Shellcracker, Bream, Cherry Gill, Sun Perch


The redear sunfish, Lepomis microlophus, is easily distinguished from all other sunfish by the spot of red on the “ear flap” and the long, pointed fins on its sides. Redear sunfish are olive-green on the back with silvery sides mottled with greenish brown spots. The sides may have dark vertical bars, especially in younger fish. The ear flap is short with a crescent-shaped red or orange spot on the border. The belly is yellowish and their mouth is small in comparison to their large body. The dorsal fin has 9-11 sharp spines and no dark blotch at the end (like in bluegill). Redear sunfish are Arkansas’ largest species of sunfish, often ranging from 8-10inches in length and around 1lb in weight in farm ponds and reservoirs.  Although, 1-1.5lbs is not uncommon. When caught in streams and rivers they are usually much smaller.  The current state record is 2lbs 14oz and 15 inches long from Bois D’Arc Lake.



Lepomis microlophus is native to the southeastern United States and has been stocked in water bodies all over North America for its popularity as a sport fish.  In Arkansas, it is native to all major water bodies, and is stocked extensively in ponds and lakes all over the state.


The redear sunfish is considered to be a warm water fish, preferring water temperatures around 73-77°F.  They prefer clear, calm water with plenty of logs, stumps, brush, and aquatic vegetation.  Its attraction to submerged timber is what inspired its nickname “stumpknocker.” They are normally found in calm water that has a mud bottom, but can sometimes be found in pools of streams.  The redear sunfish is a popular game fish although its bottom feeding habits sometimes make it harder to catch than other sunfish species.

Redear sunfish spawn multiple times from April to August when water temperatures range from 66-70°F.  Males build nests by fanning their tail fins, making a circular indention in the substrate.  The males gather and create nests close together in colonies, and the females visit to lay eggs.  A female 9-10inches in length can lay 35,500-64,000 eggs.  Males guard the nests after spawning until the young start to swim off.  Sexual maturity is usually reached around 2 years and maximum life span is 6-7 years.

Redear sunfish consume mainly snails and other small mollusks and crustaceans.  They have broad, flat teeth in the back of the mouth (pharyngeal teeth) that are excellent at crushing shells, which inspired their nickname “shellcracker.” There propensity for eating aquatic snails limits the spread of fish parasites that use snails as intermediate hosts.  They are also know to feed on insect larvae and other material taken near the bottom.  The best angling success is with natural baits fished near the bottom.

Special Notes: 

Here in Bella Vista, redear sunfish can be found in all of the lakes and Little Sugar Creek.  Fishermen hoping to catch a redear sunfish should use natural bait like earthworms, crickets, grubs, maggots, catalpa worms, or freshwater shrimp, because redear rarely take artificial bait.  Fishing near the bottom around logs, stumps, and other submerged timber or vegetation would be helpful.  Known gravel beds at 15 to 20 feet in depth can also productive.  Our lakes grow redear sunfish to trophy size especially on lakes Windsor and Lomond.  The redear sunfish is our most likely candidate for a state record of all species here in Bella Vista.

State of the POA

Ruth Hatcher, Chair, POA Board of Directors

As I embark on my 33 years of visiting Bella Vista, 18 years of which I’ve lived here and my 12 years of serving in a volunteer capacity for the POA, I now move into the role as Chair of the POA Board of Directors. It is a role that I’ve seen include tremendous accomplishments, gut-wrenching decisions, hours of commitment and a test of character. So, why do it? Because I believe in Bella Vista more every year.
This past year brought us floods, record-breaking winter temperatures and changes that were not (and still not) easy to accept. First, we hired a nationally-recognized engineering company to study the past and future impacts of flooding on the golf courses that have experienced year-over-year extensive damage. The results led to closing Berksdale Golf Course at the end of 2018. In case you missed the numerous meetings covering this study, it is available on the POA website (bellavistapoa.com/valley-flood-study/)
While the closing of Berksdale as a golf course is difficult, we need to look forward to what the future can bring. Next steps regarding this area include working with partners, such as the NWA Trailblazers, on ideas for future development. Rest assured, it remains the board’s goal to maintain the beauty and enjoyment of our “front yard”, which is the Little Sugar Creek Valley. And, for those who are interested, the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary project will continue at Berksdale; staff and volunteers have made great impacts by achieving three of the seven steps required to achieve sanctuary status.
The recent closing of Scotsdale for repairs is another pill that was hard to swallow. Golf courses in our weather zone have experienced the same winter kill damage due to the record-setting winter temperatures from December through April. It’s unfortunate and the timing is never good, but we will get the repairs done as rapidly as possible and look forward to the re-opening.
I look forward to working with the newly elected board members: Mary Sinkus and Jerry Hover. They have experience and skills that will lend well to the Joint Advisory Committees and to a well-rounded board. Thank you to the 23% who voted in this past election.
I encourage everyone to understand communication is a two-way street. The POA staff offers numerous ways for you to stay updated and involved. The POA website (bellavistapoa.com) has an updated calendar of all board meetings and various events; Facebook posts, responses and events are available on the POA’s FB page; Tom has an “In the Know” segment that is posted on YouTube and Facebook; weekly and monthly e-newsletters are available (sign-up here: bellavistapoa.com/signup/). The list goes on and I hope you know efforts are constantly being made to inform, educate and listen. Please take advantage of these opportunities. Come to a board meeting or any other public meeting where we can openly discuss ideas and opinions. We may not always agree but at least let’s give each other a chance to respect each other in person.

Record-setting Cold Weather Causes Extensive Repairs

The 2017 winter and 2018 spring have been very extreme and have led to winterkill issues in our warm season Bermudagrass turf areas such as tees, collars, fairways and roughs. To date, we have replaced 20,000 sq.ft. with an additional 20,000 sq. ft. remaining to be replaced in these areas. The early hard frost in late October, extreme cold in December and January, and the record-setting cold April has also done extensive damage to our new Ultradwarf Bermuda grass greens at Scotsdale.

Our first hard frost of 25 degrees occurred on October 25 instead of the typical freeze closer to Thanksgiving. This was followed up by average lows 15-20 degrees below normal during January and February. We experienced five days of 10 degrees or lower, 3 days of 0 degrees, 13 additional days in the mid-teens, numerous mid-20-degree days and two occasions of temperatures staying below freezing for 12 days and 6 days respectfully. Then April came with the coldest temps in recorded history for NW Arkansas.

Initial damage to the Scotsdale greens was done with both direct cold temperatures in January along with the extended periods of below freezing. As the 1-year old greens tried to come out in late March and early April, the final stretch of cold (24 degree and 29 degrees) along with the overall averages at 20 degrees below normal, was too much for the immature greens.

Fourteen of the 18 greens at Scotsdale have 50-80% loss of turf, and would not be able to fill in naturally before summers end. Therefore, it is necessary to re-establish these greens. The process will be similar to the initial establishment in the summer of 2016. This process involves removal of cores through aeration, dragging in material, hand planting and cutting in Champions Ultradwarf Bermuda sprigs, rolling, top dressing and non-stop watering for 10-14 days. In addition, an aggressive pre-plant and establishment regiment of fertility recommended by the turf supplier will be utilized. Once the sprigs have been watered the first time, and with optimal hot weather conditions, it requires 8 to 10 weeks to bring greens to playing condition.

Scotsdale will officially close Saturday, May 12th at 2 PM.  This closure will allow our staff to prepare the greens for sprigging, get the sprigs delivered, and get the contractor mobilized and pre-positioned. Our goal is to reopen for play on September 1st.

Since the golf course will be closed, we will take this opportunity to fix the 12th green at Scotsdale.  The plan is to eliminate the extreme slope on the green and make a much more playable putting surface with more quality cup locations.  The work on the 12th green will involve a golf course architect and contractor to establish slope, contours and to do the final shaping work. We will be able to save most of the Latitude 36 collar grass installed during initial establishment for reuse on new collar area.

The more mature greens at Brittany, which are also Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda, sustained only a modest amount of winter kill.  As an added precaution, in case we have two extreme winters in a row, we plan on purchasing new covers for the greens which are designed for harsh conditions.

We apologize for any inconvenience the closure of Scotsdale may cause, unfortunately it is impossible to debate with Mother Nature.

Did You Know? May 2018

At Bella Vista Country Club you are now allowed to drive your golf cart from the clubhouse to Tanyard Creek Practice Facility to warm up before your tee time.  We ask all golfers to be considerate of other golfers who are already playing on holes #6 through #9 while they drive to and from Tanyard Creek. Take advantage of a good warm up session and be back 15 minutes before your allotted tee time.

Play where you are comfortable!

With most of Bella Vista’s golf courses having 5 tee boxes now, make sure you are playing the correct Tee box. Hitting long irons or fairway wood into par 4’s & 3’s makes for a long and frustrating round. There are many different thoughts about this topic out there today. Suggestions include making sure you are using no longer that a 7 iron in to most Par 4’s on average. However, with new equipment and clubs like hybrids, that throws that suggestion out the window. The PGA and USGA came up with this table and it goes according to your average driving distance. This chart is a guideline to help golfers tee it up from the correct tee box.

Driver Distance Recommended 18-Hole Yardages
275 6,700-6,900
250 6,200-6,400
225 5,800-6,000
200 5,200-5,400
175 4,400-4,600
150 3,500-3,700
125 2,800-3,000
100 2,100-2,300

Tee it up and “enjoy the summer playing golf and scoring well”

Paddleboard Fitness Classes at The Beach at Lake Avalon

Get your Fitness kicked up a notch this summer with a unique program that involves lots of core and balance work and some paddling techniques. SUP Fitness Class: You’ll be on a StandUp Paddle board –sometimes kneeling, standing or even laying down. The board is tethered to a base where the instructor is standing to lead you through the class. A Tuesday evening, 45-minute class will be taught in the water and involves the fun possibility of ending up in the water while learning the techniques. You’ll experience traditional fitness moves in a new way to challenge your muscles. Wear comfortable swim or fitness clothing like tights. You will need to wade out in the water to get to your board.

SUP Yoga/Pilates: This Saturday morning class combines the stretch and strengthening of Yoga and Pilates with the relaxation of water on a StandUp Paddle board. In this 45-minute class, your balance and core will be dually challenged.

We are offering two, 6-week sessions in conjunction with SUP NWA -Adventurous Fitness.

Fees for the 6-week session are $48 per POA Member ($8 per class) and $60 per guest ($10 per class) No other fees are required.

Session One

SUP Fitness Class: Meets Tuesday, June 5- July 10, 6:15 – 7 p.m.
SUP Yoga/Pilates: Meets Saturday, June 2 – July 7, 9 – 9:45 a.m.

Session Two

SUP Fitness Class: Meets Tuesday, July 17 – Aug 21, 6:15 – 7 p.m.
SUP Yoga/Pilates: Meets Saturday, July 14 – Aug 18, 9 – 9:45 a.m.

Classes are open to those who are comfortable in the water, ages 16 and up. No prior paddleboard experience is required. To register and pay, stop by Riordan Hall or call 479-855-8170.  There are 10 spots per class and we anticipate this program will fill quickly.