This site is intended to share information relating to the management of the golf course conditioning and quality of Northmoor Country Club and the art, the science, and the factors that influence those conditions. Please visit as often as possible.
Based on all accounts and the positive comments, the 2016 NCC Men's Invitational was a resounding success. With it being a short week to prepare the course due to the Memorial Day Holiday on Monday and rainfall two days during the week, the Golf Course Operations Staff did a tremendous job of getting the course into prime condition for the Friday and Saturday event. Losing Wednesday as a work day due to an inch of rain, the staff worked from 5 am to 7 pm on Thursday and from 5 am right up until the 1:00 pm start time on Friday to get the job done. The team below are the men who make it all happen on the golf course for your enjoyment. They are the silent heros that often go un-noticed yet there would not be a golf course without them. You likely do not know them by name but please give them a wave or a smile when you pass them on the course.
The following photos are just a few of the many plantings that Lorrie Witt and her staff have done to beautify the NCC property. We are fortunate to have these staff members provide such great results. We have a very small staff to care for the amount of landscaping on the property. Lorrie, Sergio and Jose do a great job. They just planted over 6,000 flowers in the last week. !!!!!!!
Lorrie Witt - Master Gardener
Our flower planting team
Jose 1, Jose 3, Ampiro, Lorrie and Sergio
Sergio and Rafael are doing a lot of flower planting
On numerous occasions, I receive the questions:
"Why are carts in fairways only today?"
"Why are carts in the roughs only today?"
There are 3 main factors involved in how cart decisions are made on a day to day basis.
1. In most cases, the fairways drain quicker. The turf is cut shorter so it dries quicker. There is also drainage installed in the subsurface of the fairways to get rid of the water quicker. So whenever possible, we ask that carts be kept in the fairways.
2. The roughs have longer turf and it does not dry as fast. The roughs do not have drainage in the subsurface like the fairways do so they stay wetter longer. The roughs have numerous bird baths and low areas resulting in standing water. Therefore, the carts can cause more damage in the roughs during wet periods.
3. No two rain periods have the exact same effect on the course. Decisions on specific cart usage for any individual day depends on a number of factors. Drying times depend on:
How much did it rain on a particular
How much did it rain on previous days
How soon does the sun begin to shine
Is there sufficient wind movement to aide
in drying the course
What are the humidity levels and how do they
affect the course drying process
Standing water in the roughs can limit cart usage because carts cannot get to the fairway without causing damage
Every morning each fairway and rough are check for moisture & saturation levels. Carts are available whenever remotely possible. I understand the necessity of cart usage for many of our members. But as you can see, there are simply days when carts cannot access the course without causing significant damage.
There are very few golfing venues in the world that rival Augusta National Golf Club. I have been to 7 or 8 Masters and unless you have been on the site, it is impossible to imagine the vastness and elevation changes of the property as well as the serious contours of both the fairways and the greens.
When the best players in the world are regularly 3 putting and sometimes 4 putting, those are not the conditions that the average would enjoy playing on a daily basis.
John Morris, our Assistant Superintendent and team member here at NCC, was an Assistant at Augusta National and was involved first hand in numerous Masters events.
Below are just a few of the "Only At Augusta" items that make the Masters an un-comparable venue to almost any other in the United States and the world.
The green at #12 actually has a heating and cooling system designed into the subsurface of the green. This helps control the turf growth in the winter and summer months.
Each green has a SubAir system install under it. This device can either push air into the rootzone of the green or extract excessive moisture out of the rootzone of the green. This feature may cost as much as $ 25-30,000 per green. It is an excellent way to manage the firmness of the greens.
Notice the water being sucked out of the green to help dry it out.
Many of the bunkers at Augusta are 8 foot deep or more and expansive in size. Golfers cannot even see out of the top of the bunkers.
We see the balls roll and roll on television. This is due to the tremendous fairway contours and elevation changes on the course. For example, the #10 fairway has a 60 foot elevation drop. Balls roll downhill.
Not only are there significant elevation changes from tee to green on may holes, there are contours within the fairway cut that assist in ball roll. #11 Augusta
Many of the green's surrounds are shaved down resulting in balls rolling into water hazards.
It is an unbelievably difficult golf course to play.
The greens have such tremendous contours and slopes that you cannot imagine unless you have been on the property. On many of the approach or chip shots, the golfer must hit a spot within a 5 foot circle or the ball will roll totally off the green. Notice the significant "false front" on the green below.
Notice the surface drainage patterns and contours of this green. There are numerous contours on each green. A putt can break 10 feet or more on a 15 foot putt.
Unless it rains, water is with held from the putting surfaces resulting in severely sloped greens that become as hard as pavement by the end of the week. Putting is similar to rolling a ball on a table top and trying to get it to stop. Notice the areas of brown and purple wilted turf on the greens in the two photos below. This is putting the health of the turf at a huge risk. This "on the edge of turf survival" would not be prudent at a regular golf facility.
Budget???? No one really knows. It isn't published. The Golf Course Operations budget at Augusta is many times in excess of an average private facility, even of an average upper end private facility. I am talking many millions of dollars. The average 18 hole facility will have 3-4 fairway units. Below is the fairway equipment inventory of the Augusta operation.
The normal 18 hole golf facility will have 15 to 20 staff members. The regular season staff at Augusta ranges from 35 to 120 volunteers during the Masters event.
Numerous greens and bunkers are rebuilt EVERY YEAR while the course is closed all summer.
Did you realize that the course at Augusta is closed June 1st through mid October !!!!!!!!!!
A number of the greens are actually rebuilt EVERY YEAR.
Prior to being recruited to Wynstone Golf Club in the Chicago area, I managed the Austin Country Club, a stunning, dramatic Pete Dye design. It is an extremely challenging course in the hills of Austin, Texas. It was rated the #3 course in Texas by Golf Digest Magazine. This past weekend the Dell World Match Play Championship was played there. Below are a few photos of the course. It has numerous elevation changes, long carries over deep rock ravines, narrow rolling fairways, penal green's surrounds and very large - undulating Pete Dye signature greens. The hilly upper part of the course differs significantly in design from the lower 45 links style designed holes along the Colorado River. If you ever get to Austin, give me a call and I will see if I can get you on the course.
The original ACC location was a gently rolling Perry Maxwell design just south of Austin. The new club is located in the hills just west of Austin. To give you an idea of the difficulty of the course, member handicaps initially increased by almost 50% and an average of 6 hour rounds of play. A tough track indeed.
The 11th hole has a 220 to 230 yard carry over the canyon
The 18th hole has very difficult approach shot into the green from 200 yards out at the top of the hill
The 12th hole has a long & difficult approach carry to a very narrow green
#2 Par 3 Requires a total carry
Hole #3 - A 250 yard approach into a green with water 4 feet left of the green
The 11th hole commands a long approach shot into the with a 60 foot deep canyon 6 feet left of the green
Ben Crenshaw & Tom Kite are members of ACC
I had the tremendous good fortune of working with Teacher of the Century Harvey Penick