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.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Course Restoration

Thanks to each of you who have made such positive comments about the course conditions and staff effort during the Member-Member this past weekend. I relayed your thanks to the staff.

After 4 inches of rain on last Friday night and Saturday morning, the course was flooded and many of the bunkers were flooded unplayable. Beginning at 5:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday, the staff pumped out bunkers, squeegeed fairways, redistributed the sand in the bunkers, and delivered the course for play for the Member-Member event. Many courses were closed both weekend days but our staff (see below) came through. They put in hundreds of man hours before and after play to prepare the course. They are a tremendous group of men.

The finished product - Ready for play Sunday morning

White #9 Buckthorn Removal

We recently removed the buckthorn thicket on White #9 cart path. For many of you, it was a mass of brush one time that you were out and then it was gone in a few days on your next time on he course. While projects like this can get completed in a fairly short time, this project entailed hundreds of man hours to complete each phase of the project. I hope you like the new look.

Below - The dense buckthorn thicket in place

Below - Removal of the buckthorn

Below - Clearing of the debris & adding topsoil

Below - Sodding the area

Below - The finished product

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Member - Member Rain Day

In case there is any doubt about how much it has rained last night and this morning, I have included the photo below of one of the flooded streets in the area. Some areas of the city have received over 8 inches of rain.
Below are a few photos early Saturday (today) morning. We have received 3.3 inches of rain and more is on the way. I thought you might like to see the course conditions after a heavy rainfall.
I looks like the Member-Member will be a one day event tomorrow. The bunkers are flooded and the fairways have standing water. We will pump the bunkers once the rains have passed through and get the course ready for tomorrow.

Let's hope we don't get the 87 degree high temperature this afternoon that is forecast. That temperature and the 90% plus humidity will be an ideal formula for a disease outbreak.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Putting Green Cupping Rotation

You will notice that at times there are no putting green cups located at the northwest end of the putting green. When there are cups at this end and edge of the green, 90% of all golfers stop right there and practice putting. They do not use the other 8 cupping locations or the other 8,000 square feet of putting surface. We rotate the cupping locations to disperse the foot traffic of the golfers so it does not wear out a single portion of the green.

Damp Bunkers

When the rainfall stopped in late June, it really stopped. The last three weeks have been very hot and very dry. So far, it is the hottest summer in the last 4 or 5 years at NCC. I understand that dry bunkers are the preferred playing condition and the photos below show how we have been utilizing our staff to hand water bunker faces, green surrounds, tee surrounds, and fairway drain lines to prevent over watering key in-play areas with our overhead irrigation system.

With the forecast for extended temperatures in the 90s and high heat indexes, the grass plants are subject to high evapo-transpiration rate and have to be watered or they will wilt or die. We cannot keep up with the high evapo-transpiration rates during periods of high play and extended heat periods with hand watering only measures. We will irrigate with our automatic overhead irrigation system on Friday and Saturday nights this week so the bunkers may be wet in the mornings until about 8:00 or 9:00 AM. I would like to wait until Sunday night to irrigate but the weather conditions dictate otherwise. I just wanted to give you a heads-up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Soil Moisture Extremes

After a record setting rainfall in June, the golf course is now very dry. Within 4 or 5 days the soil moisture conditions can go from one extreme to the next. This is due to the heavy clay soil types in the fairways and roughs. Managing "AROUND" Mother Nature and the weather is always a challenge. Things can change in a hurry. Even though we have an ample supply of irrigation water, there are areas of the course that have different established turf species, are out in the open, more exposed to sunlight and wind, receive more traffic, and have a poorer soil structure so they are stressed more quickly and command frequent attention.

Below is a photo of the soil in one of our flower beds.
After an inch rain the course was saturated

Monday, July 12, 2010

In Full Bloom

We continue to add additional landscaping to the NCC property. Below are several photos of our landscaping results this season. We have a very limited staff that is assigned to taking care of our plant materials and the flowerbeds. Santiago and Hector do a tremendous job of keeping up with our extensive landscaping. From the terrace plantings to the pots to the perennial beds, the flowers are in full bloom.

Main Walkway Improvements

Lorrie Witt, Master Gardener, is assisting us again this year in a part time capacity. Here is an example of how she has helped improve the walkway area of the club.

The photo above is a view if the walkway 7 years ago.

Below is a view of the walkway improvements today.

Lorrie Witt, Master Gardener

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bunker Moisture

I understand that the best playing conditions are when bunkers are dry.

Except for last week, our bunkers have been wet since early June.Add Image

What has contribute to this situation?

1. It rained 12 days during June and therefore the bunkers stayed wet.

2. Last Thursday marked the first time since April first that we had a 4 day period without rain.

3. Last Tuesday through Sunday the bunkers were dry because of higher winds and no rain.

4. We had 5 days of 90 degree temperatures and the turf around the greens has to be
watered. The turf surrounding the greens is watered with the same sprinkler heads that
irrigate over the bunkers in their design sequence.

The photo below shows the sprinkler head on the right edge of the green on #3 red. The pink designs represent the patter of irrigation throw that the sprinkler delivers. This sprinkler rotates 180 degrees from the edge of the green out, therefore covering the turf outside the green. Unfortunately, the same sprinkler delivers water to the bunker area in its rotation. We will do our best to kep the bunkers as dry as possible.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What A Differenc a Week Makes

A week ago our course was totally saturated from rainfall 12 of the first 26 days of the month.

This week, area of the course are bone dry and showing signs of wilt. The weather has immediate impacts on the heavy clay soils of the Midwest.

The high 80 degree temperatures combined with relative humidity readings in the low 30s on Thursday and Friday dried the course out to the point we are having to hand water throughout the day to keep the turf from wilting.

Below are the headlines from the news paper from Friday July 2nd

Heat, humidity on the way in the wake of Illinois's wettest June in 108 years
By Chicago Weather Center Staff on July 1, 2010 11:01 PM
Illinois June rainfall among the heaviest on record rainfall in June was one for the books across Illinois, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center's Dr. Jim Angel reported Thursday. The average statewide tally of 7.80 inches for the month was the highest in a June here in the 108 years since 1902. The tally was nearly twice normal

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blue Nine Opening

It is finally here. The Blue Nine opens for full play tomorrow. You have read where I have written about young, new greens and how vulnerable they are to mower and foot traffic in their first season of growth. Of significant importance is how golfers care for the new greens. The photo below is of an un-repaired ball mark on the #1 blue green. The turf is ready for play and it is in premier condition. How golfers care for the course will have a tremendous bearing on the continuing quality of the new greens. Hundreds of un-repaired ball marks on a green will quickly diminish the putting surface both in smoothness of ball roll and aesthetics.
Thanks in advance for giving special attention to ball mark and divot repair.

Destructive Ball Marks

The photo below shows the tremendous quality and condition of the new putting surfaces on the blue nine when we opened the course for play. The only decrease in quality over the last month is the lack of ballmark repair which will quickly reduce the quality of the putting surfaces.

The brown spot in the photo below is an example of how a golf green is damaged when the ballmark is not correctly and immediately repaired. We already have hundreds of blemishes on each of the new blue greens.

The flags in the newly opened #6 blue green represent the locations of unrepaired or incorrectly repaired ballmarks on the green. There are 165 incorrectly repaired ballmarks on the green. It will take weeks for each of the blemishes to repair themselves.