Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winter Weather

I have been asked several times in the past weeks about the effect that the recent deep freeze has had on the turf.  Mostly, we all want to be reassured that it will be "okay" in the spring.  With such a large investment being made in the golf course and the winterkill from last year so fresh in our minds, it is not surprising that we would be concerned about the health of the new turf.

The evidence suggests that large scale winterkill of bentgrass in the Chicagoland area is not likely and that there is little to no concern about ice damage.  Because the plants on our greens and fairways are not fully developed, there may be a cause for slight concern if the conditions are conducive to ice damage, but it would still be minimal when compared to our old Poa annua greens.

This winter has been very different than last.  We do not have conditions that are conducive to winter kill.  The plants are not encapsulated in ice, and the snow on the ground helps to prevent desiccation. The turf has looked great under the snow each time it has been inspected, and at the moment we do not anticipate any damage from ice, wind, or cold temperatures.

Turf in the lowest area of #8 Green looks very healthy.
This area was previously prone to ice damage.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December Activities

The recent string of warmer days has allowed for a few things to be done on the golf course in addition to our normal work of refurbishing equipment.  Stone work on #3 has resumed and will likely continue tomorrow.  Since most of the frost in the ground has thawed and soil is workable, work on the sea wall on #16 has resumed and our guys will be able to complete scraping cart path edges.

Stone Work on #3

Sea Wall #16

Cleaning Cart Path Edges

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 12

We saw a good deal of sod hit the ground during week 12, which will continue until the ground freezes.  Our construction contractor was able to sod the banks at six tee complexes, while our staff completed the pond banks on 4, 6, and 8.  

Stone work on the bridge on hole 12 is complete and our bride contractor will begin working on the three bridges on hole 3 next week.

Our staff has also been very busy with leaf cleanup this past week.  Because we are opting to use backpack blowers on the fairways as opposed to tow-behind turbine blowers, this process has required a larger time commitment than previous years.  

Pond bank #8 bridges before
Pond bank #8 bridges ready for sod
Pond bank #8 bridges after sod

Pond bank #4 Green

Pond bank #8

Pond bank #6 Green

Sod #10 Tee bank

Sod #12 Tee bank

Leaf cleanup done by hand on fairways this fall

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 11

The past week has been dry and sunny, which has been great for the turf and working conditions alike.  On greens, we have reached our final mowing height of the year at .150", which is equal to our normal over winter height.  Once turf breaks dormancy in the spring the greens will be lowered to their in-season mowing height in several increments.  For now, however, we strive to maximize plant health prior to the arrival of winter.  

Leibold completed their laser grading project which includes several tee expansions.  They will now turn their attention to sodding tee banks and step cut at the rate of about 17,000 square feet per day. With roughly 7 acres of sod to lay, this process should take about 20 working days.  

The finish work on the main entrance to the Club is turning out well, although the project has been slower than anticipated due to a concrete shortage in the Midwest said to be caused by the large amount of ice that persisted on Lake Michigan in the spring.  

Bridge work, cart path, and pond bank work continue and are currently on schedule.  Two bridges on hole #8 are finished and ready for asphalt installation.  

Nutrients are applied to greens on a weekly basis
#14 tee was the final tee to be laser graded
Bridges on #8 are complete
Several areas at front entrance have been poured
#8 pond bank ready for sod
#4 pond bank ready for sod

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 10

Week ten was very rainy with 2.5" falling slowly from Monday to Wednesday.  Fortunately, the rain coincided with warmer night temperatures, causing a flush of growth on fairway turf. Too wet to mow with riding mowers, staff has begun walk mowing over 30 acres of fairways. While this may not be a desirable way to spend the day, mowing often during establishment encourages lateral growth, expediting the establishment process and filling in voids where weeds may otherwise germinate.

Tree planting took place between #9 and #18 where forty-three deciduous hardwood trees native to Northeast Illinois were placed in accordance with the Club's master plan with Nicklaus Design.

On #8, the stone facades of the bridges are being installed.  This crew will then make their way to #12 prior to renovating the cart paths in this section of the golf course.

Fairway turf continues to fill in well

A mix of Oak, Hickory, and Beech trees planted between #9 and #18

Stone work began mid week on #8.

Our first bridge of the renovation nearing completion.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 9

In week 9 of the golf course renovation, our staff began to close some projects while some new ones began.  At the front entrance of the clubhouse, our concrete contractor performed the removal of old paving stones and curbs.  New curbs have been installed, and stamped concrete will soon follow to replace the paving stones.  Asphalt is scheduled for installation next week.

Pond bank work on holes #10 and #12 was completed.  About 16,000 square feet of Kentucky bluegrass sod was laid in these two areas to finish them.  As our staff finishes work in these areas, repairs to irrigation heads which were being lost into the ponds will be made.  

Tee leveling is in the final stages with only three holes left to complete.  Once the surfaces are finished, our construction contractor will begin sodding contaminated tee banks and the step cut around fairway.  

Curb removal

Paving stone removal

Realignment of #5 silver tee

#5 silver tee finished

#12 fairway and approach pond bank finished

#10 green pond bank finished

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 8

The majority of week 8 was great for turf growth and other projects with the sunny, dry weather. Turf on greens was lowered to .185" and looks very healthy.  With temperatures forecast in the mid-thirties over the weekend, covers were installed, and it looks like our guys will be playing the cover shuffle throughout the next week.  The covers keep soil and canopy temperatures slightly higher and minimize the chance of frost, keeping the greens actively growing during cold spells.

The Velocity applications on fairways seem to be working as expected.  Poa annua is flashing, or turning a bright yellow color, while the bentgrass is slowly turning back to a shade of green that we like to see.  The cold weather is not ideal for the newly seeded bentgrass fairways which will require warmer temperatures to resume active growth after being stunted by the herbicide.  

Great progress was made on bridge updates, pond bank maintenance, and tee leveling this week as well. Precipitation totaling 1.5" on Thursday night made working conditions a bit too sloppy on Friday, so the crew got a well deserved afternoon off after three weeks of great weather. 

Turf on greens was lowered to .185" and is filling in very nicely.
Poa annua dying while new bentgrass plants begin to green back up.
Hand installed bank stabilization logs hug the pond bank on #4.
Getting bridges ready for a face lift with stone that matches our walking bridges.
Roundup has been applied to several contaminated tee banks.
The crew covered the greens on Friday prior to the cold setting in.
Pizza and a well deserved afternnoon off on Friday after first rain in three weeks.
Couldn't ask for a better team!