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.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall Aerification Dates

Our fall aerification will begin Tuesday September 7th with the white greens.
At this time we will also begin aerifying the fairways and tees. We have a busier than normal fall tournament schedule with the Northmoor Invitational and the Northwestern Ladies Invitational. These two events will impact the fall aerification on the red and blue greens. I will send you an update on the red and blue aerification once I see how the weather patterns are forming.
If you have any questions, please give me a call.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bunker Face Replacement

We are in the process of re-sodding some of the bunker faces on the white nine. These areas have a difficult time in the summer because they get a heavy layer of sand build-up on them from the bunker shots, they are exposed to the drying South winds, and their vertical faces (slopes) do not allow for adequate water infiltration. Therefore, these areas dry out quickly.

Below Mario is hand watering the bunker faces. Watering with the overhead sprinklers results in the sand in the bunkers being too wet for quality playing conditions.
Mario and Ramiro are adding a low volume irrigation line to the bunker face on #9 white bunker.
This system will add a low volume of irrigation water to the vertical face of the bunker slope. It will prevent heavy run-off of water into the bottom of the bunker.
Below the staff has re-sodded the #9 white bunker face and installed irrigation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hand Watering Around Bunkers

You may have noticed several of our employees hand watering the areas around the bunkers in the fairways and around the greens. They are watering only the turf without having water flood the bunkers. This, while labor intensive, has a two fold benefit. It gets much needed water to the turf and it prevents the sand from being wet. While we do have an automated irrigation system, those sprinklers turn 360 degrees which waters both the turf and the sand. Wet sand can minimize the quality of bunker playing conditions for the golfer.
Regulo Sanchez is watering the turf immediately bordering the bunkers.
Notice the edges of the bunkers are drying out and deteriorating due to lack of water

Dry bunker edges are less defined due to extended hear and lack of water

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Golf Cart Routing

You will notice that we have placed a few more cart traffic stakes on the course, especially on the blue nine. The blue nine turf is young and immature. It is showing significant signs of cart traffic wear, compaction, and thinning of the turf. This is common on a young turf that has been exposed to a tremendous amount of rainfall, moisture, heat, and humidity this summer. The wear occurs mostly in the lower areas but also near the bunkers where carts drive as close as possible to the fairway bunkers.

Cooler temperatures, fall aerification, and golfers varying their driving patterns will help revive these areas. Thanks for your help.

Here is an example of a heavily used golf cart path where the turf has been affected by the record setting rainfalls this year. The turf remains soft and wet and the golf cart tires repeatedly compact the area resulting in thinning of the turf.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Turf Video - Why does turf die in the summer?

Below is a video site that describes why there is turf loss in the summer months.

Wall Street Journal Article

The article below is from the Wall Street Journal and it references the tremendously difficult weather conditions that are resulting to damage on golf courses around the country. There are major "Top 100" type courses that are closed for the remainder of the summer or that have significant damage. This is an interesting read.

The Ugly Summer of 2010
Brutal heat has greenkeepers fighting to save their courses from ruin

The sustained record-breaking heat across much of the U.S. this summer, combined with high humidity and occasional heavy rain, is killing the greens on many golf courses. A handful of high-profile courses have already had to close, and if the heat continues, others are likely to follow. Golfers themselves deserve part of the blame for insisting that putting surfaces be mown short and fast even in weather conditions in which such practices are almost certain to ruin them.
Huntingdon Valley Country Club outside Philadelphia, which dates from 1897, shut two of its three nines two weeks ago because of serious turf disease caused by the hot, wet weather. The Philadelphia area in July had 17 days of 90-degree-plus weather, six more than average, mixed with flooding thunderstorms of up to 4 inches.
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Members at the Golf Club at Cuscowilla, east of Atlanta, received letters this week that the club's highly regarded Ben Crenshaw-Bill Coore course would be closed for eight to 10 weeks so that the wilted greens can be completely replanted. The Ansley Golf Club broke similar news to members about the club's in-town Atlanta course. "The continued, excessive heat and humidity have put our greens into a critical situation and the possibility of saving many of them is remote," said a letter from the grounds-committee chairman. Even Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., the site of five U.S. Opens, is having serious weather-related problems with its turf.
The U.S. Golf Association last week issued a special "turf-loss advisory" to courses in the Mid-Atlantic states, urgently advising greenkeepers to institute "defensive maintenance and management programs" until the weather crisis ends. Most of the danger is to greens planted in creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass (also known as poa annua).
"Physiologically, these are cool-season grasses that do very well when the air temperature is 60 to 75 degrees," said Clark Throssell, director of research for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. "They can cope with a few days of 90-degree weather every summer, but when that kind of heat lasts for days at a time, they have extreme difficulty."
Temperatures for weather reports are measured in the shade, but greens baking in the midday sun can reach 120 or 130 degrees. When grass spends too much time in soil that hot, it starts to thin out, turn yellow and wither. Most bentgrass strains will collapse entirely with prolonged exposure to 106-degree soil. The grass doesn't go dormant—it dies.
Grass does have a mechanism to cool itself. It's called evapotranspiration and is analogous to perspiration. The roots draw up water from the soil and it evaporates through the plant's leaves, dissipating heat. But when greens are scalped to a quarter-inch, an eighth of an inch and even shorter, the leaf surface available for transpiration declines.
Prolonged heat causes other problems. One is that root systems shrink, sometimes to within a half-inch of the surface, reducing the amount of water drawn up to the top. Humidity and heavy rain make things even worse. Humidity retards evaporation, while soggy soil stays hot longer than dry soil does. Puddles and saturated soil also create barriers that prevent needed oxygen from getting to the roots.
Even when the combination of these factors doesn't kill bentgrass and poa annua greens outright, it weakens the turf significantly and renders greens more susceptible to fungus and disease.
Bermuda grass, by contrast, thrives in temperatures in the 80s and 90s but cannot survive cold winters. That makes Bermuda the logical choice for courses in the Deep South. High-prestige clubs in the so-called transition zone, which includes parts of Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Texas and the Midwest, have long put a premium on having bentgrass greens because of Bermuda's historic liabilities as a putting surface. Bermuda greens were coarser, bumpier and had problems with excessive "grain," caused by the bristly blades growing in one direction (generally toward the setting sun) instead of vertically and thus unduly influencing the speed and direction of putts. Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, claims to be the first course south of the Mason-Dixon line to install bentgrass greens, in 1936. Hundreds of clubs have followed since.
But they pay the price, even in years with less brutal summers than this one. Colonial, for instance, has five or six fans around every green, stirring up 25-mile-per-hour breezes around the clock to help keep the greens cool. The club in summer has four full-time employees who do nothing but hand-water the hot spots on the greens every day. "Keeping the greens alive till that first cool spell in September is all we hope for," said the club's head pro, Dow Finsterwald Jr.
When hot weather hits bentgrass courses, course superintendents also raise mowing heights. That yields more leaf surface and improves evapotranspiration but can slow down putts by a foot or more on the Stimpmeter, which measures green speed. "Better slow grass than no grass" is a mantra among greenkeepers, but the pressure from golfers to keep the greens rolling fast is relentless.
During the hot summer of 2007, ground crews at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, home of the PGA Tour's Tour Championship, tried every trick in the book to keep the club's bentgrass greens healthy. They hand-watered each green every 30 minutes during the hottest days, just enough to cool off the grass blades but not enough to add moisture to the soil. They ran fans and cut the greens with walk-behind mowers rather than heavy triplex riding machines, to reduce stress.
But nothing did much good. "It's such a helpless feeling. You watch the greens turn yellow and you know they're going to collapse, but there's just nothing more you can do," said Ralph Kepple, East Lake's superintendent.
For the 2008 season, East Lake replanted its greens in one of the new "ultra dwarf" strains of Bermuda that are hard for most golfers to distinguish from bentgrass, in terms of performance. The club is pleased with the decision, Mr. Kepple said—especially this summer.
Augusta National, the home of the Masters 90 miles east of Atlanta, is in an area that is often 10 degrees hotter in the summer, but it easily maintains bentgrass greens. The main reason: The course is closed for play in the summer. That's a luxury very few courses can even consider.—Email John Paul at

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Record Rainfall and Wettness

I often get the question,"Isn't this rain good for the golf course?"

When you get 3 to 6 inches of rainfall at a time or when it rains every other day for 6 or 8 days , the answer is ALWAYS NO!!!!!!!!

When conditions are dry and the rainfall comes in timely manner, rainfall is great for a golf course. When it rains 12 days in the month of June or when it rains 7 inches in a 12 day period, then negative aspects of turf conditioning come into play. Soils become saturated, healthy deep roots regress back to the surface and are less healthy and golf carts are restricted because of the compaction and damage they may cause . High humidity normally accompanies rainfall and humidity is a contributor to turf disease. If high temperatures are included in the equation then that increases the conditions for serious challenges.

Below are a few of the charts and graphs and headlines from the Chicago Tribune this summer relating to our weather conditions. We will always do all we can to have the course playable for you but in months like June and July of 2010 the record rainfall amounts are quite impacting on the course and cart usage.