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.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Winterkills - What Golfers Need To Know

Three Things All Golfers Should Know About Winterkill   


Winterkill is an easy problem to define but difficult to fully understand. Simply put, winterkill occurs when turf dies during winter. However, understanding the mechanisms that cause winterkill, creating effective prevention strategies and formulating effective recovery programs is complex.

What causes winterkill?

Winterkill is a catch-all term describing winter injury to turfgrass that occurs through a variety of mechanisms such as ice suffocation, crown hydration, low-temperature injury and desiccation. Identifying the exact cause of winterkill is difficult because  winterkill may be caused by one mechanism or could result from a combination of mechanisms that act simultaneously or occur at multiple times during winter. Additionally, turfgrass species have different tolerances to winter injury. For example, creeping bentgrass is much less susceptible to winter injury than Poa annua.

Can winterkill be prevented?

Scientists have not been able to find a silver bullet that prevents winterkill. However, great strides have been made breeding turf varieties that have a better tolerance of winterkill mechanisms. For example, USGA-funded research has resulted in the release of cold-hardy bermudagrasses such as Latitude 36™, Northbridge™ and Patriot.

Golf course superintendents are not able to prevent winterkill, but they can implement a variety of programs that give turfgrass playing surfaces the best chance of surviving winter. Common strategies in northern climates include converting to cold-tolerant turf varieties, implementing proper fall fertilization, raising mowing heights during fall, reducing shade, improving drainage and covering putting greens during winter.

What are the most effective recovery programs?

Winterkill damage can range from minor to severe, and golf course superintendents use a variety of methods to repair the damage. Weak areas of turf may recover with fertilization and traffic restrictions, but dead areas must be re-established with seed or sod. Repairing an area that has been severely damaged by winterkill is an opportunity to make improvements that may help avoid future damage. Correcting shade, drainage or traffic issues will improve turf conditions during the golf season and winter hardiness. Re-establishing a severely damaged area also provides an opportunity to use cold-tolerant turf varieties that will be less vulnerable to winterkill in the future.

Winterkill is a seasonal visitor that no golf course wants to see. It often arrives quickly, but the impact on playing conditions can last for weeks or months. Golfers can take comfort in the knowledge that golf course superintendents and scientists are working hard to understand and overcome the age-old problem of winterkill. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tu - Dog Park

We are about 7 months into our training and relationship with Tu.  While she does not possess the verbal and hand signals and commands of a $4,000-$5,000 highly trained border collie, she does chase geese and that is what the club wanted.  There are only a few times of the year when geese are an issue for us.  

No matter the training level and skills of a border collie, they command a significant amount of time.  They are not your normal house dogs that will sleep all day.  They are high energy and need to have lengthy exercise sessions each day to expend their energy.  

Tu has definitely influenced and affected my daily life and schedules.  I wasn't planning on having to care for her 24-7.   We didn't plan for her to live in our home.   I didn't plan for her to wake me up every morning at 3:45 - 4:15 am ready to go to the course.   But that is where we are.  She has come such a long way in 7 months and we still have miles to go.   As her caretaker, I am obligated to help her and train her to be the best she can be.  The  abuse and  neglect she suffered during her first 3 years of life are not displaced easily.  And for all the frustration and inconvenience she has added to my and Lorrie's lives, I know she was brought into my life for a reason.  I was told that I was her last chance to live.  No matter the time, the trials and attention that she needs, she has a forever home with me and Lorrie.  It is just what you do.  It is the right thing to do.

Below you can see how she enjoys the dog park.   Much better than a humane shelter cage for sure.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Snow Cover

Tu is enjoying the snow cover

Monday, December 5, 2016

Great Putting Surfaces - Video

Below is a video that shows just a few of the many facets and procedures involved in providing quality putting surfaces.   There at many variables involved in the process.   Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


We recently had our annual  season ending staff cookout for the Golf Course Operations Department.  These guys are not only dedicated to providing our members with tremendous playing conditions but can they ever cook.  For those of you who have joined us for the cookout, you can attest to how good the food is. 

The fajitas, quesadillas, chicken, hot dogs, tortillas and pico de gallo were outstanding
Keith Berk , Robert Razowsky, Paul Blumberg, Bud Greene and Mark Shapiro took time away from their schedules to join us for lunch.  Below,  President Berk enjoys his lunch with the guys
Adam and Beth join Green Chairman Razowsky and Bud Green  for some great food                                                                       
Chairman Blumberg and Mark Shapiro are enjoying the lunch

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fall Practices - Fairway Verticle Mowing

We have started our fall golf course preparation schedule.   We will be implementing a number of agronomic practices and measures to help repair the course from the season long play as well as insuring that it is in quality condition for next season.   Below are just a few of the agronomic practices that we are currently in the process of doing.

One of the keys to firming the fairways is to utilize the practice of verticle mowing.  This practice assists in removing excess thatch from the fairways.   Notice in the second photo how much undesirable material is brought to the surface and removed.   We do this practice each spring and fall.
This is what a verticle mowing reel looks like
It is more of a thinning than a cutting process
Notice the amount of grass and thatch that are pulled from the turf

      Verticle cutting results
Topdressing immediately follows the verticle mowing.  Sand is deposited into the verticle mowing lines to help firm the surface of the turf 
This is the amount of sand that we will put on the white nine fairways
  This is the result after a week
We are also aerifying the greens, tees, approaches, fairways and roughs over the next few weeks

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tu - Our New Friend

Many of you recall that over the past 13 years we had two different border collies, Polly and Bristol, that were highly trained and highly priced goose chasing dogs.   Both of them have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and we were in search of a new goose chasing team member.  I spoke with my chairman and he agreed that finding a good rescue dog combined with a good trainer to work with her would be a good way to go.   After months of searching rescues shelters all over the country, I ran across TuTu (Tu for short), a 3 year old border collie - Australian mix at the Deerfield Orphans of the Storm Rescue Shelter.  After visiting her twice over a three week period, I decided NCC would give her a forever home.

It has taken her a while to adjust to all the people and activity of a golf course life but she has made monumental strides.    Here is her story as best as the shelter shared with me. 

She was originally owned by a Chicago family that had to relocate out of state.  They chose not to take her with them so they gave her to the shelter.   Shortly after, a family with young children adopted her.   As one would anticipate, Tu being a high energy and bred to be an outdoor working dog, was too high energy to be around young children.   The young family took her back to the shelter.   After a while, an elderly gentleman who had recently lost both his wife and his dog, adopted Tu.  And again, as anticipated, she was too high energy to be shut up in a house all day without any exercise.   The gentleman returned her to the shelter.  

It has been an interesting 4 months with her.  I never planned on having a 3rd dog at my house but there is no one at NCC for her to live with.   It isn't convenient for my home but I will never return her to the shelter.   She is attached to me and I am her new caretaker.  She doesn't leave my side.  She is at the course daily, running and chasing and is able to enjoy life outside of a rescue shelter cage.