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.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Heat Stress and the Golfer

The effects of summer weather conditions can have a dramatic effect on closely mowed golf course turf (at thousands of an inch), much more so than on a home lawn that is mowed at several inches in height and does not have hundreds of people and golf carts driving over it.  Take a look at the following video.   Thanks

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Firming the Fairways

The North Shore golf courses command a slightly different agronomic management process than other courses that are farther south and west of the city.    The cooler and wetter weather conditions found closer to the lake tend to result in playing conditions that are not as dry as those in other Chicagoland areas.
Most North Shore courses were built 80 to 100 years ago on black clay soils which stay a bit wetter and softer than some of the more recent built clubs that may have a "lighter" soil type that drains and dries at a quicker pace.   Heavy - black -clay soils tend to hold water longer resulting in the fairways being softer than the sand based greens on the red and blue nines. 

Below are the processes that we have been implementing over the past 4-5 years to provide firmer playing conditions.  Striving for firmer conditions includes a number of agronomic processes.
The process below is the same for the fairways, approaches and tees. 

The fairway, aerification, topdressing and verticle mowing processes are utilized several times each year for the following reasons and to achieve these results:
1. To relieve compacted soils from golf cart traffic
2. To improve the surface dryness of the fairways
3. To increase irrigation & rainfall water infiltration into the soil
4. To reduce the amount of "thatch" in the fairways for improved firmness & less disease
5. To increase oxygen availability to the rootzone of the plant
6. To reduce "wet spots" in the fairways

The complete process includes:

Step 1 - Aerifying the fairways

Verticutting the fairways with the purpose of reducing thatch accumulation & stimulating an upright growth of the turf

This photo below exhibits a verticle mowing reel

Blowers are used to collect the thatch debris
Sand topdressing is implemented to assist in firming the fairways, reducing thatch
and making the surface drier

The final step in the process is mowing the fairways
Notice the sand layer on top of the clay layer.  This photo is from White #4 where we have been most aggressive with our aerificaition and topdressing programs.   What was once our worst fairway is not one of the best as we have been successful in changing the upper part of the rootzone
It takes time to change the soil structure of a golf course.   It also causes an inconvenience to the membership.  Our goal is to provide a balance of an aggressive agronomic program with member access to quality playing conditions.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Different Bentgrass Greens

I thought you would find these photos to be interesting.  The turf variety that we used on the red and blue greens in 2006 and 2008 was A1 bentgrass.   It was the state of the industry at that time.   In the late 90s when NCC did the white nine, L93 bentgrass was used on the white nine. because it showed the most promise in the research trials.  Today, Pure Distinction bentgrass is one of the highly performing varieties that Bob O Link recently used on their greens in their renovation.  Just one of the characteristics of Pure Distinction is that it has an earlier green-up.   Each of these 3 bentgrass varieties has different growth and putting characteristics. 

Northmoor A 1 bentgrass green on April 26th  - still off color

Bob O Link Pure Distinction bentgrass on April 26th - early green-up

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tanner Witt

I wanted to say a special thanks to those of you who have asked about and followed my son Tanner's baseball career through college and the pros.   Even though he had a year left on his contract and was scheduled to play at Double AA Chattanooga with the Twins organization, he has decided to enter the next phase of his career.   He has traded his baseball uniform for a business suit and a set of operating room scrubs.  He has joined the Nuvasive spinal medical equipment sales team and has moved to Dallas.   From the ball field to the operating room, he is beginning a new career.

Needless to say, my summer evenings will be different without watching him on TV or listening to his games on the radio.   He has given me more than 20 years of enjoyment watching him play.  Lots of miles, thousands of innings and a million great memories of watching him play.
I appreciate the interest you showed in him and my family.   Thank you.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Austin County Club

This week the PGA tour stop is at Austin Country Club located in the hills on the outskirts of  Austin, Texas along the Colorado River.  I had the opportunity to manage this dramatic course earlier in my career.  Architect Pete Dye used tremendous creativity in designing this stunning layout with long and forced carries, severely undulating greens, distinctive elevation changes and "eye-catching" native rock features.   The 6800 yard course plays to a challenging 74 course rating.   While the pros may find the length very short compared to their normal course lengths, the average golfer finds the layout to be extremely difficult.   Before we  cleared some of the native trees and brush in the rough areas, combined  with the number of forced carries, it was not uncommon for the members to lose 6-10 golf balls a round. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Graden The Greens

In the quest for firmer putting green surfaces it is necessary to control unwanted and undesirable thatch accumulation.   Newer technology in machinery, such as the Graden implement, are designed to aide in producing desired putting surfaces.   The question is "Does the golfing membership support the balance between necessary agronomic practices and the impact such practices may have on playing conditions for a week or two?"
                                          See the video below