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.
Incorrectly and unrepaired fairway divots are an eyesore to our otherwise pristine bentgrass fairways. They also diminish the quality of the playing conditions of any quality fairway turf. Nothing is more unfair for a fellow golfer than to hit a perfect shot right down the middle of the fairway only to have his or her ball come to rest in
an unrepaired divot. It is the responsibility of every golfer to leave the course in better condition than he or she found it.
Incorrectly repaired divots in the fairway
Unless the replaced divot is pressed firmly back into place, it will dry out and die as exhibited by the dried out brown dead divot in the photo below.
The following video shows the best way to repair or replace fairway divots. Take a look.
There are times, following heavier rainfalls, when we allow carts on the fairways. We request that the carts stay in the fairway cut because most of the fairways have some form of subsurface drainage and the shorter cut turf dries faster. The rough areas have many "birdbaths" and heavily shaded areas where water tends to stand. Also the areas with higher turf takes longer to dry out. For these reasons, we ask that golfers not drive in the roughs.
The wetness of the course not only depends on the amount of rainfall we may have received on a given day but on the following factors:
The rainfall on previous days
The amount of sunlight to dry the course
The amount of wind to dry the course
The amount of humidity during the day
Below are some photos of the wet areas of the roughs that influence cart access at times. These are photos taken on a day, following a rainfall, when carts were permitted on the fairways.
While the fairways may be drying, the roughs are so wet that carts can damage the course entering and exiting the fairways. As always, I will get carts out ASAP. This is your golf course and I will always place a high priority on you being able to enjoy it and have access to it.
Although carts were running on the fairways following a rainfall, we were still pumping water from standing areas on the course. You can imagine how carts being driven in the wrong place could cause damage.
Golf course management is steadily advancing both in playing conditions and the equipment utilized to deliver the new standards in course quality. Below are some of the fairly new pieces of machinery and technology that we are using at NCC.
Moisture meters are used to check the soil moisture 3 to 4 inches deep in the soil profile. The readings from the instrument (once we determine a base point for turf wilt) aide us in knowing when to syringe or irrigate the green to provide the proper amount of water to the grass plant. This device does not preclude us from using other methods of determining optimum water management. We still probe the rootzone, feel the turf surfaces, look for foot printing of wilting turf and check for visual discolorations of isolated areas of the greens. The moisture meter is just another tool in our arsenal.
Vertical Mower to reduce thatch in the fairways for firmer and tighter ball lies
Excessive thatch material is removed. Vertical mowing lines will be visible for a short period
Rolling the greens following daily mowing gives us faster green speeds
We generally roll 3 to 4 times a week. Any more frequent and it placestoo much stress on the turf.
The Verti Quake is a unit with 8 to 10 inch blades that we use along the fairways where tree roots affect the turf quality. We also will use it in high traffic areas to relieve soil compaction. In the photo below you will notice the off colored turf on #9 blue (the back tee.) The Verti Quake blades are relieving compaction and severing the shallow tree roots that are encroaching into the tee.
The Planet Aire machine is an aerification type technology that is used to "vent" the green surfaces. This practice helps relieve compaction and improve oxygen availability to the rootzone.
Drons are now being used by Golf Course Managers for a variety of functions: mapping, documenting, photographing, etc.
Action today prepares for quality conditions in the months ahead.
We have aerifying the fairways this week with solid tines. This process opens the turf surface without pulling out soil cores. The main purpose of this is to relieve compaction, reduce the thatch layer and provide open channels for oxygen availability and exchange in the turf rootzone.
Fairways are topdressed with sand for thatch reduction
This sand will be applied to the fairways to make them "tighter and firmer" over a period of time
We are also deeply solid tining the greens for the same reasons. These areas will all heal very quickly and will not interfere with play but for several days. These are the tines we use on the greens
The greens are rolled following the aerification to smooth the surface and it also covers the holes
The holes are less than pencil size one they are rolled
Notice how the aerification holes allow us to work sand into the older white soil and clay based rootzones of the greens. This allows for better drainage and air oxygen availability
Notice the healthy, white roots that are growing in the aerification channels. This is a very healthy grass plant. These practices in the spring prepare the turf to endure and survive the stressful summer weather conditions.
Notice the small dark green circles on the green running from top to bottom in the photo below. Two of the circles are just to the left of the pennies. These are the aerification holes from the fall. The circular areas are greener today because of the air channels we made available to the roots
If you have never been to Augusta National then you cannot fully appreciate and realize how remarkable it really is. For example, here are just a few facts that set it apart from any other golf facility:
The course is closed all summer - from June through mid-October
Regular course renovations are done to exact GPS locations
Heating and cooling units under some of the greens
Every green renovation is rebuilt to the exact inch of its previous shape
Some greens are rebuilt every 3 to 4 years.
There is no published operating budget for the golf course maintenance department
Due to the firmness and undulations of the greens, the golfer may have only a 2 or 3 foot circle to land an approach or chip shot to keep the ball on the green!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For those who wonder how everything looks so perfect at The Masters......these "workers" are actually golf course superintendents that volunteer to do the various chores during the week of the Masters and probably just over 100 make the pilgrimage every year at this and the other major golf events around the world. Plus, there is no budget for the operation.
The non-areas of the turf at Augusta National are overseeded with a cool season turf for the Masters.
This turf type, combined with the strong television filters give you the rich green color on your screen
The green television filters really mask the true color of the greens as they purposely dry them out, withhold the water and roll and mow them multiple times to challenge the players.
In the photo below, Adam Scott missed his 2 foot putt and had a 5 footer for a comeback.
Putting the Augusta National greens is like putting a ball on your granite counter top. Combine that with challenging undulations and slopes and you cannot believe how significantly difficult the course can play.
The greens are allowed to dry out and turn off-color (bluish-purple)to achieve the desired speeds.
The golfer has a 10 foot birdie putt
Even the one of the best players in the world has a 5 foot come-back for par
The player's approach shot hit 20 feet short of the flagstick with spin on it and it still went over the green. Notice the lush ryegrass surrounds and the grayish color of the drying and wilting greens.
His shot was virtually perfect and it looked as though the ball was going to stop within a few inches of the hole. No such luck. His ball rolled 50 feet past the hole and almost off the green.
Notice the total discoloration of the putting surfaces. This is done intentionally to challenge the best players in the world. This is not for private club membership play.
Most golf courses will have 2 or 3 fairway mowers to mow the fairways. Not Augusta National.
The driving range will opening on Wednesday April the 9th. We will be using the artificial hitting surfaces until the temperatures moderate and the turf begins to grow. There is also some cold temperature damage on the driving range tee surface. I will need to do some work in these areas to restore the turf.
The golf course will be open beginning Thursday April 10th. I am monitoring the firmness and foot-printing of the new #3 and #9 red greens on a daily basis. We may open white and blue for play and delay opening the red nine for a few days until the surfaces are firm enough for traffic.
Keep in mind that we will be incurring early morning frosts for at least a few weeks. Expect course opening delays on those days when frost is present
The photo below shows evidence of frost damage from when a person walks on a frozen green