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, July 25, 2011

Bug Spray, Sub Air, Venting and Disease

The damaged turf in the photo below is from a low area on #3 white fairway.  Pythium is an agressive & rapid spreading turfgrass disease that occurs under hot, humid and wet conditons similiar to those we had for the last week.  Even though we had a preventative material down on the turf, the climatic condions were so intense that there was a pathogen breakthrough.  So when you see our guys on the sprayers on occassion, it is to protect the turf against these devistating disease invasion.

Extended periods of wettness, heat and humidity on the turfgrass surface are optimum conditions for disease occurance.  For this reason you will see the staff squeeging the standing water in the fairway, especially in the low area where water accumulates and Pythium is most likely to occur.
Pythium on #3 Blue Fairway
Pythium on #3 White Fairway
The hot, humid & wet areas on the golf course are susceptible to damage from standing water & wet soil conditions following heavy rainfalls.  Once the rain stops & the hot sun comes out, the turf is actually damaged from scalding.  Wet areas heat up & the turf is damaged from the water being heated by the sun.  
Spraying the golf course is a necessity to prevent and combat serious turfgrass diseases.
There are 3 dead areas on the small putting green where someone applied bugspray to their legs.
The photo below shows one of the dead areas. 
Below is a SubAir machine that we use to either blow cool air into the rootzone of the green or to suck water out of the subsurface of the green.  Both actions are implemented to provide the turfgrass and their roots the best of possible growing conditons.   Each green on red and blue has the plumbing installed for the unit but we have only one machine to use on all 18 of the new greens.  This machine is not intended to increase putting green speeds or to dry out a green immediately following aa rainfall.  It is a tool to use to alter and improve the rootzone of the green, to remove excess water or to help cool the rootzone.  You can see water being expelled from the green in the photo below.
To insure the rootzone in the greens have adequate available oxygen, we "vent" the greens on a regualr basis during the summer months.  This machine uses 1/8 th inch solid tines and pokes holes in the greens to allow oxygen to reach the turfgrass roots.  We mow immediately after the "venting" and the golfers are not impacted in any way.

Small air channels, a fraction the size of a dime, are created by the solid tines
Once the greens have been "vented" they are mowed and ready for play.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Extended Heat

 Excessive Heat Advisory in Effect for Chicago
       July 19th, 20th & 21st 2011 !!!!!!!!

If the weather forecast is correct, we are in for a week or more of one of the most intense weather stress periods on turfgrasses over the past 15 years. You may recall how the weather impacted courses all over the country last summer. Such iconic courses as Wingedfoot and Congressional among other actually closed for periods. You will notice a number of agronomic tasks being implemented this week to protect our turf. There will likely be many golf courses in the Chicagoland area that suffer turf loss this week due to the intense heat. Hopefully we can escape that situation here at NCC. There are some turfgrass species that simply cannot survive when soil temperature rise to extreme levels and destroy the root structure of the plant.

The photo below shows the 7 day forecast to have high temperatures in the 90s.

Extreme heat and drought are influencing factors on turfgrasses. For this reason we will be implementing a bit more cart traffic measures than normal. The photo below shows how cart traffic can damage turf if golf cart traffic is not rotated.

Below is a photo of turf under dry conditions with repeated golf cart traffic. exposure

The photo below exhibits the benefits and success of implementing cart traffic control measures.

The photo below is of new turf on the blue course last year. We put out some stakes to route traffic away from the young and stressed area.

We will put out a few stakes in the fairways in some of the higher traffic areas

During the next week we will do everything we can to provide quality and challenging putting green speeds but we will not sacrifice the health of the turf in an attempt to chase speed. This is a temporary measure and we will provide speed as soon as the weather conditions allow.

Our staff will be doing quite a bit of hand watering. Although we do have a fully automatic irrigation system, we hand water so that we do not over water the areas that are not wilting and so we are able to apply water to the exact areas that are stressed.

One of the areas where the turf wilts the quickest in on the bunker faces. These areas must be hand watered to prevent the bunkers from being totally wet. However, during the coming week in order to keep the turf alive, it will be necessary for us to irrigate the bunker faces more than normal. Some of the bunkers may play wetter than usual. We will try to keep the sand as dry as possible.

Some of the tee tops and the fairway drain lines on the newer renovated red and blue courses require hand watering during intense evapotranspiraton rates.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


During the family oriented 4th of July festivities, many NCC members asked about my family. I know this is a turf related site but we all know how important family is. I thought I would just share a few photos of my family since you had asked about them.

My wife Lorrie sits in a field of bluebonnets on our last trip home to Texas. Lorrie helps us with the flowers and plantings here at NCC. She received her Master Gardner Certification last year. She has a real touch for flowers & gardening.
Tanner just finished his sophomore year and plays baseball (short stop) at Kansas State University.He is playing for the San Luis Obispo Blues college summer team this summer in California.
Lauren just graduated from The University of South Carolina with a degree in Public Relations. She is now interviewing for jobs in Chicago and Austin, Texas.
Seth has just returned from going to school and working in Charleston, SC where we lived prior to coming to Chicago. He was working at High Cotton restaurant in Charleston. He is now working at Sullivan's Steakhouse in Lincolnshire and will attend UIC in the fall.