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 8, 2013

Why is the driving range surface different from the fairways?

Why is the turf on the driving range different from the fairways?

The answer is that the fairway turf reaches a state of maturity from many years of growth. 
The range turf never reaches a state of maturity because we seed the divots 2 to 4 times a year depending on how many times we rotate through the range tee.  When we begin the season on the lower level at the front of the tee we rotate back to it in a matter of 4 to 6 weeks.  In that short time, the new seed that we have planted has germinated and begins to grow but it simply has not had time to become dense, thick and mature.  We are constantly hitting on immature turf.  We are re-seeding daily with the most aggressively growing seed variety on the market.  There is no other turf variety that will solve the tight lie issue.

The photo below shows the thatch or pad that accumulates our fairway.  This is a double edge sword.  This pad allows your ball to sit up very nicely allowing you to sweep the ball off the turf.  However, this same "pad" is one of the factors that limits ball roll on your tee shots. 
That is a layer of organic material (decomposing roots, grass blades, etc.) located below the grass blades and the soil.  It accumulates over time.  Aerification and sand topdressing are measures used to maintain thatch in acceptable levels in the fairways.   Zero thatch control is required on the range turf because the turf never reaches a mature enough state to begin developing this thatch layer.

 The range is very actively used.

The photo below is of a cross section of the range tee turf.  Notice there is no thatch or pad layer so the leaf blades are directly on thop of the soil.  This would be representative of laying carpet in your home directly onto the concrete foundation without installing a layer of padding under the carpet. 

    Below shows the condition of the range tee before the renovation. 
   This is the condition of the range
tee following the renovation
 This photo shows how much of a small area of the range tee is displaced during a single day of hitting.  It willl take this area 6 to 8 weeks to germinate, grow and begin to fill in.  It would take several years for this area to mature and become dense like a fairway.  However, we rotate the tee back to this same spot 2 to 4 times a year so the young turf is barely growing when we are hitting off of it again.  It simply never has time to reach maturity. 
This photo shows a complete row of used turf during a single day.  It takes 6 to 8
 weeks for this area to cover again.                                                

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What a Difference A Year Makes

No two years on a golf course are ever the same.  We only have to look back to last year to confirm this fact.  We all like to control as many situations in our lives as possible but we have no control over the weather and how it affects a golf course.  We have a high degree of control over many functions and areas of the club.  For example, indoor dining, golf shop shopping, clubhouse parties, etc are all indoor functions that can proceed without a "hitch" because they are held indoors.  The golf course is different.  It is a outdoor living entity that is significantly influenced by sudden and extreme weather conditions.  Course conditions change not only year to year but can change day to day depending on the weather.
Below are some examples of the extremes in weather from 2012 to 2013. 

Last year at this time it was pushing 100 degrees for extended periods
This year temperatures are in the 60s on the 1st of July.  Members are still wearing jackets
                                             2012 Headlines

Emergency drought aid expands as Midwest bakes!!!!!!!!!

US Drought Disaster Worst In Over 50 Years

Forecast: More Heat, More Drought

The 2012 drought disaster is now the largest in over 50 years, and among the ten largest of the past century, according to a new report released by the National Climatic Data Center today.
The current drought actually covers more area than the famous 1936 drought, though other droughts in the Dust Bowl years – particularly the extreme drought of 1934 – still rank higher
 Heat Wave Smashes Records as Drought ExpandsThe heat wave continues! O'Hare's hit 103, Midway 102. The heat's to run thru Sat AM. Afternoon temps are within striking distance of Chicago's all-time record hi of 105 set July 24, 1934. It's the 2nd day in which century old temp records have fallen.

Wednesday's record-tying 102-degree high, the hottest July 4 temperature here in nearly a century, appears only the opening act of an intense heat wave which still has several days to run.

The 102-degree peak reading marked only the second time in 142 years an Independence Day has recorded a triple digit temperature here

Photos of the effects that the record setting heat and drought had on the golf course in 2012
NCC 2012
NCC 2012
2013 Weather Headlines
Wednesday morning’s deluge is just the latest to hit portions of the Greater Chicago area in a year which has been producing precipitation at a record rate. There hasn’t been a single year since official weather records began 142 years ago in 1871 which has produced a year-to-date precipitation tally greater than the 27.54" currently on the books
Month’s rainfall running at 12 times last June’s pace; 2013′s precipitation tally remains the heaviest of any on record in the past 142 years
From a 140 year drought last summer to 140 year rainfall records this year
NCC golf course flooding

Chicago flooding