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, April 30, 2010

Range Tee Opening

The grass section on the driving range will open Saturday morning May 1st. We have been working on some irrigation troubleshooting the last week to correct some electrical issues.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Improvement - Red #6

The photos below are of the project we just completed behind Red #6 green. With the addition of turf, rather than mulch, the area will more playable for all golfers.

The photo below is of the mulched bed behind Red #6 green that required improvement.
The photo below is of the sod replacement project we did behind #6 Red green.

Cart Signs

In an attempt to have fewer ropes and stakes on the course to rotate golf cart traffic, we will be placing a single cart sign on the edge of the fairway where golfers are encouraged to return their cart to the path. The signs will be placed on the side of the fairway that leads them to the cart path side of the green.

For example, in the photo below, the cart sign is placed on the right side of #3 red fairway because that is the side of the green that the cart path is located on. On a hole like #9 white where there is a cart path around both sides of the green, we will have two signs and you are encouraged to use either path. Thanks for your help in this request. It will benefit the golf course conditions.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why the Difference in Our White and Red Greens

All greens are not constructed alike. Therefore they do not perform exactly the same. During wet and rainy periods, the white greens will be softer. The reason is simple. The rootzone is constructed of native black soil and there is no drainage in the greens. Black soil holds water. Sand based greens allow water to drain through.
The photo above is the sand based material that our red and blue greens are made of. The courser sand particles allow surface water to infiltrate the rootzone and then flow into the drainage system of the green. This material allows for a firmer & drier putting surface.
The photo above is a model of the rootzone of a sand based USGA constructed green. Notice that there is drainage pipe surrounded by a gravel layer that allows water to flow downward from the sand based rootzone mix into the gravel and into the pipe and out of the green. This is why USGA greens are firmer and drier.
The photo above is of the rootzone of the white greens (except #4 and #5.) The white greens were built 90 years ago out of soil (black dirt.) There is no drainage under the greens. There is nowhere for water to go when it rains. The green stays wet and soft for a week or more.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The New #3 Blue

Below is a photo of the approach and green of the newly renovated blue #3 hole.

Red #3 Pin Location

I receive a number of questions regarding the cupping location on #3 red green. Due to the design of the green, only about 10 to 15 % of the fair & available cupping space is located on the right side of the green. This means that over 80 % of the cupping space is found on the left portion of the green. For this reason, the flagstick will be located on the left side of the green at least 75 to 80 % of the time. The right portion of the green is so small that having the flagstick in that area of the green on a regular basis would destroy the green's surface. The cupping locations must be rotated to distribute foot traffic.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Aerification - Timing Is Everything

The link below is to the USGA Green Section Record magazine site. The article that is presented relates to the importance of timing of aerification. I think you may find it interesting. With the short golfing season in Chicago and the need for Golf Course Managers to make the golf course available to golfers for their enjoyment quite often the necessary practices such as aerification are delayed or omitted and course conditions can decline. I place a high priority on balancing member access to the course and still accomplishing necessary turfgrass management programs.

Red #2 Fairway Widening

With the approval of Dr. Hurdzan, we have widened the fairway adjacent to the bunker on Red #3. The fairway was only 13 yards wide at this point which was extremely narrow by fairway width standards. The widening of the fairway does not make the hole play that much easier as much as it will help with us being able to distribute the cart traffic through this narrow area. The cart traffic and shade and tree roots are factors that have contributed to tighter lies on the edges of this fairway.

This photo exhibits the widening of #2 red fairway by approximately 10 yards.

The photo below shows the staff widening the #2 red fairway

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It is that time of year again. The dandelions are in full bloom. We are spraying them this week and will follow up with a second application next week. Although we are on an annual control program for the dandelions, weed seeds from surrounding properties blow onto NCC property and contaminate our turf. It will take several weeks for the weeds to shrivel up and die back.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blue Nine Progress

The photo below is the new turf on #9 blue fairway. The warmer, sunny, and drier weather this spring is providing very good growing conditions. We are still targeting early June for opening the blue nine.
Staff members are mowing #9 blue fairway.

150 Yard Posts

New 150 yard posts have been made by our in-house staff this winter. The wooden posts with the white ring at the top have replaced the flags and flagsticks previously used to designate the distance. The posts are being placed in the right rough, except on #4 white which will be in the left rough and out of play along the lake.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The weather is sunny today but the carts are restricted to the paths. Keep in mind we received over 3 inches of rain since last Saturday afternoon and most of this past week was cold and overcast. There is not much drying under the cooler conditions. We are also continuing to dry out after the last 10 to 12 inch snow cover of the golf course. The native black clay soils tend to hold moisture for an extended period during the cooler periods.

The fairways are dry enough for carts but the rough areas still have some standing water. Our concern are the wet areas where carts enter and exit the fairways. I am hoping for some nice drying winds today so that we can have carts on the fairways tomorrow. I monitor these conditions very closely and will get carts back on the course ASAP.

Friday, April 9, 2010


The photo below shows the results of frost damage caused by golf carts driving on a fairway before a morning frost has had time to melt. I will try to give you a brief explanation of why this happens.
Everyone knows frost must clear off the grass before play can begin, but few people know why. Frost on the grass blades tells us that the water inside the leaves is frozen. Remember that water is the primary component of plant tissue. When this water is frozen, traffic on the turf causes the ice crystals in the cells to puncture through the cell walls, killing the plant tissue. Little damage is done to the crowns (growing points) or roots if only a light frost appears; however, when the frost is heavy, cell disruption may occur at the crown, thus killing the entire plant. Frost damage symptoms include white to light tan leaves where traffic has passed.

Traffic damage on frozen turf areas usually occurs during periods of freezing or thawing. The most devastating situation occurs when the grass blades and the upper one-half to one inch of soil has thawed, but the ground beneath their level remains frozen. Traffic will create a shearing action of the roots, rhizomes, and crown tissues at this time. This is comparable to cutting the plant tissue from the underlying root system with a sod cutter. Complete kill of leaves, crowns, and rhizomes can occur if the temperatures soon drop below 20° F. Symptoms from this severe injury include whitish to dark brown leaves that may mat on the surface.

Below is a photo of a turf area with the frozen crystals on the leafblades. What we cannot see if the same frozen crystals inside the leafblade.
Frost occurrence and starting time delays are very common in the spring and fall on golf courses on the North Shore of Chicago. Golfers may leave the heat and warmth of their homes on a cold morning ready to set onto the course and tee it up. Unfortunately, overnight temperatures that have dropped into the low to mid 30s deliver a sparking white layer of frost on many areas of the course. There can be evidence of frost on certain areas of the course when the ambient temperatures are even in the mid to higher 30s. This is because the news casters give reports that have reading taken 36 inches above the ground. In lower and shaded areas temperatures can varying by 3 to 5 degrees or more at ground level.
Foot or mower traffic can crush the frozen leafblades resulting in the ice crystals becoming fragmented and puncturing the cell walls within the leafblade and causing significant damage to the plant. For this reason we will occasionally have starting time delays. During frost occurrences, I have to make the proper decisions to protect your asset and also to get you onto the course as quickly as possible. A few minutes delay heavily outweighs months of damage.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Back to Normal

After several days of sun and warm temperatures the weather is returning to normal Chicago spring conditions, cool and very wet. We received over 2 inches of rainfall from Saturday evening through last night. As you can see from the photos, the course is very wet. It will take some time for the course to dry considering the overcast and cool conditions.

Below - #8 White Fairway

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Blue

I think you are going to be very impressed with the Blue nine renovation. I have taken a few members out for tours last fall and this spring. The impressions have been tremendous. Below are a few photos of the blue nine.
The photo below is of the newly renovated Blue #5
The photo below is of the tee to fairway view of the new #3 Blue hole.

Tree Plantings

Our trees are an important resource for the golfing experience at NCC. Understanding that, I developed a Tree Management Program several years ago that was approved by the Grounds and Green Committee. With over 2800 trees on the property, we have a variety of trees that are in varying conditions of health. Our Tree Management Program includes trimming, fertilizing, pruning, controlling pests, and planting new trees on the course. At times we may have to remove a tree that is dead or rotting and becomes a safety hazard. I work closely with the Green Chairman, our architect Dr. Hurdzan, and with a certified arborist to insure that we have a solid plan for caring for our trees.

Below is a photo of 4 new trees that we planted last year behind #2 white tee.