Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flood Upate #6 - Sunday, June 30th - AM

98% of the surface flood water is gone.  The bunkers on #18 and around #13 are the only places that there is standing water (the lowest points on the golf course) as of 7AM.

It appears that the turf near the edges (shallows) may be the most affected – and the turf deep in the water was better off. #1 green is a good example as 2/3 of the green was under water.  The shallow areas may have heated up more than the deep areas.  Time will tell.  We did have more mud on #13 green than the others.
Overall the greens look to be in good condition.  We are washing 1,8, 10 and 13 greens of the silt this morning. We will then wash 2,9,11,14 tees.  We may have to wash 13, 18, 6 fairways.

The smell cannot be described, all I can say is; rotting worms, fish and turf mixed together- the “smell of death”.  Luckily there is a slight breeze, but even so it does make some of my guys nauseous.

We are picking up all rakes, tee markers, etc to be scrubbed and cleaned.  Work continues on the bunkers, removing slit, dead fish and worm, and restoring the sand.

I do think we are on track to open on Tuesday.  It is even possible that we might have carts. 

What to expect on Tuesday:
·         Smell – I am sure the smell will still be around, maybe not as much. 
·         Color- turf will appear brown on fairways and rough, but beginning to turn green again and the mud subsides.
·         Bunkers- will be back to normal
·         Greens – we will be cutting the greens affected slightly higher and then lower the mowers slowly – by Friday we should be back to normal.  #1, #8, #10 and #13 will be slower.
·         Rough – All the rough should be cut by Tuesday – it will browner than normal, and thinner.
·         Flowers – about 75% of the flowers that flooded, appear to be dead.
·         Carts- at this point, it does look like carts will be ok- as long as we do not get any more rain.
A few puddles of water remain in bunkers.

Dead fish removal

#14 tee - mud covered

Flowers on #14 tee

Washing #13 green

Compare to previous pictures.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Flood Upate #5 - Saturday, June 29th PM

The flood waters are going down - I expect by Sunday that most of the standing water will be gone.  After that we will begin work in the flooded arae of the course and access the damage.  Below are some pictures from this afternoon.
#1 green looking back towards the tee - the left side flooded.

Behind #1 green at about 3PM

Karen is pointing to the high water mark on the drinking fountain behind #14 tee - 3PM Sat.

Any flowers under water look like they will die.

Found several turtle wandering the course - most likely swept from Honey Lake.

Flood Update #4- Saturday, June 29

The Good News:
  • Backup pump went operational yesterday afternoon
  • Water has dropped about 2 1/2' from the high point
  • Clean up has begun on the "bathtub ring" and we should have most of the debris removed today.
  • Little rain fell yesterday (we did get a brief downpour)
  • #1 and #8 green are not under water now
  • About 1/2 the fairways are not under water
  • The fireworks last night were spectacular over the water!
The Other News (trying to be positive):
  • We still have about 2-3' of flood waters to remove
  • At this rate, by Sunday AM most of the standing water should be gone (assuming no more rain)
  • #10 and #13 greens are still under water along with 6-7 fairways, #2,#9, #11,#14 tees.
  • Silt covers most of the grass, giving it a brown look
  • Still don't know how much turf will be lost.
  • Thousands of fish are trapped on the course and in the creek
Some pictures from today Saturday- AM:

Fish trapped in a sink hole on #15

The 12" pump we rented

#1 green - 2/3 of the green was under water - now out of the water.

Cleaning of the "bathtub ring" - large portion is dead worms.

Bottom of #9 hill (before green)

#18 fairway - most of the debris floated to the South West side of the course - the smell is... really bad.

Many dead and dying fish - unfortunately they were swept from Honey Lake.
This was taken on Thursday AM

This was taken on Saturday AM -water has dropped about 2 1/2' - but still have about 2-3' to go.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Flood Update #3 - Friday, June 28 2013

The flood waters have receded about 8” from the peak, however we have about 4-5’ to go.

Two large dewatering pumps will be arriving today, sometime before noon.  These two pumps will remove about 10,000gpm together.  This with our fixed pumps will remove about 28,000gpm – or about 40 million gallons per day.  Currently the water is free flowing off the course is faster than any pumps could pump.  We are running the lift station pumps only to help “push” the water downstream. 

Once we get the new pumps in place, we will close off Honey Lake.  When that happens the water will drop fairly quickly.  If all goes well (no more rain), we should have the majority of the water gone by some time Sunday.

The weather forecast is not ideal.  Scattered thunderstorms are predicted for today and Saturday.   Yesterday we were very lucky as Chrystal Lake and Barrington Hills received ~1” or rain around 5 PM.   This mostly missed us.

It is still too early to tell if any turf has died.  Birds are starting to arrive to feed on the dead and trapped fish.  Millions of earth worms are starting to bloat and float.  When the water does go down, there will be a very bad smell from the dead earthworms/fish.

We are maintaining the turf that has not flooded and still in the process of repairing bunkers and other washouts.

It is imperative that people do not enter the flood waters – not to mention the bacterial issues but that sink holes that may have formed, drain covers that might have floated off and other unknown hazards within the water.  Walking on the turf under this stress will only do more damage.

Thanks for your support and hopefully we will be back to normal next week,


Worms starting to die in the water.

Birds arriving to feed on the trapped fish.

Water has dropped about 8".

#15 bridge

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Flood Update #2 - June 27th

The Good News-
  • No rain last night
  • Water levels in Honey Lake have dropped sightly
The Bad News-
  • Water levels on the golf course increased slightly
  • Honey Lake is still breaching the dam - over topping it, with all boards removed
  • Stonehenge reported 8.25" of rain in their rain gauge.  I think we were pretty close to that amount. 
  • Schools of fish can be seen swimming around the course. 
Water is still "free flowing" off the course.  The culvert under Golfview is now restricting water flow from the course.  The drainage pumps in the lift station on #15 are operating, however the water level is so high that it is flowing faster than the pumps.  Until Honey Lake drops below the dam level, the course can not begin to drain.  This may not happen for another 24 hrs.  After that it will be about 2 days before the water is gone.  The extent of damage to the turf will be dependant on how long the water is on the grass and how hot the water gets - sunny days are not good at this point.

All the bunkers need repair - we began work on them today.  Dry greens still need to be mowed.

The new cart path on #16 washed out, along with wood chip beds and bunkers.

The lift station on #15 - flood water are up a few feet.  The pumps are still higher than the water, so no damage yet.

Flood waters have now risen to the highest levels ever seen.  Compare this to the picture from yesterday (below post).

Tennis courts - Lower courts

Tennis courts being repaired

#6 fairway - debris from rt 59 washed onto the course.

Flowers were uprooted and washed onto the course.

#1 Tee

Dam for Honey Lake- water was up to the top of the sand bags in the background, but still over topping the dam.

Worms and fish will be left behind as the waters recede.  It will take several days to clean the course.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Historic Flooding

Historic Flooding is occurring.  Rainfall totals are not for certain as our weather station went under water.  Talking with nearby clubs and radar estimates it looks like we received about 6" or rain in a 4hr period.  With soils already saturated from previous storms, runoff was fast.  Our shop experienced some flooding.  Many roads are closed in the North Barrington area.

The course is experiencing MAJOR FLOODING, of the likes I have not ever seen.  Our lift station lost power and thus all water on the course is "free flowing" off the course.  Honey Lake is 4-6" above the dam (with all boards removed).  This amount of water is unprecedented.

The course will be closed for several days, all depends on how fast Honey Lake recedes.

Bridge on #13

Bunkers washed out - rarely happens with the liners


Biltmore Drive - between Eton and Miller

Biltmore Dr looking towards the McAlester's house.

Golfview Drive near #17

Monday, June 24, 2013

CDGA Weekly Update - June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013 Scouting Report

This week and the next few weeks there are a couple of things which I think are important to you and your golf course which can make or break your summer. This weekend we have our first blast of heat and humidity. As everyone has some grasp of the problems this brings in relation to disease pressure increasing, I can only hope that you have had a plan in place for this type of weather in relation to disease management. There are some points however that while I have already touched on them need to be re enforced - opening up your soil profile without huge amounts of disturbance will be crucial for maintaining oxygen in around the rhizosphere and the more oxygen you can get down there right now the better. Empathy is a word I feel is useful for managers who have had some of the vast amounts of precipitation since the start of the year. You have gone from saturation with little heat to high heat and humidity pretty quickly and this is not a nice change. Moving water as much as possible away from the rootzone is a primary concern and again wetting agents will be of use to you regardless of rainfall. Remember - oxygen is crucial right now and the best way to get it into the roots is to open the profile up as much as possible with limited disturbance to play.

Secondly - everyone has had or is getting into member competition times. These can really set up well as long as the climate cooperates. You have worked all year to set up for a great day or weekend and it's nice to receive the compliments for your labor. It is also important to remember the day is about the game of golf and not the golf course itself - promoting faster play, sustainable conditions, quality surfaces and meeting the demand of memberships all come about through effective communication. Tournament set up is not the same as day to day set up due to labor cost, turfgrass management practices and time management - this can be communicated effectively to ensure there is grass on the golf course all through the summer. You can also use the events to showcase your efforts and professionalism and so don't treat them as another headache in the way of maintaining the course - if they are not there - then there is little reason to have the course. Try to keep everything even handed and ensure that your staff knows what to expect ahead of the event - life gets easier.

Finally - as the summer stress hits remember you may not be able to always beat the weather and so keeping a calm head and trying to decompress will be crucial to both you - and your grass!

Click here to view the June 21, 2013 Scouting Report.

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Monday, June 17, 2013

Merion Course Conditioning - USGA

Course Preparation for a USGA National Championship — What’s All the Fuss?

Course setup begins from the first and tenth tees at first light during practice rounds through the first few days of the competition. Setup crews proceed from tee to green on every golf hole. 
Golfers raved about course conditions after the recent club championship. The greens were smooth; slick as ice. And how about those impossible “never been there before” hole locations? Fairway striping patterns rivaled the intricate mowing patterns of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Bunkers have never been firmer or more consistent. Perhaps you hear the ultimate compliment in the clubhouse…“we could have hosted the U.S. Open today."

Assume the playing surfaces could indeed challenge the cream of the world’s professional and amateur golfers. Could you sustain this high level of course conditioning throughout an entire week of competition? Before answering, let’s discuss the scope of maintenance practices associated with hosting a typical national championship. To put it another way, just what is so special about course conditioning for a USGA national championship and why?

Read More

So You Think You Want To Play Championship Conditions All The Time?
Why we can’t and, perhaps more important, why we shouldn’t

Daily tasks are accelerated for championship events by adding additional staff for each area of the course.
Golfer education is more important today than ever. Golf courses everywhere are facing decreasing budgets and increased scrutiny of product use and water management. Superintendents and course officials are obligated to work within the variable parameters of nature and increased legislation. Allied golf associations need to help golfers understand the amazing commitment of time and resources it takes to provide championship conditions. Numerous factors need to be considered before a course even starts down the “championship conditions” road.

We all love what we see on television. It is important for golfers to realize that for most championship events, a year or more of preparation has been devoted solely for that four or five-day period, for one week in a given year. The playing and, more important, the maintaining of championship conditions is much more difficult than it looks. It is hard on a course’s wallet, and it can be even harder on golfers’ egos.

CDGA Weekly Update - June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013 Scouting Report

Extreme might be the best word to describe this week. Precipitation events and non-events have been dominant for our golf courses all over the region this week. The volumes and more importantly the time period that the precipitation fell over have been problematic to say the least. Steady rainfall and dark wet days might be more associated with the Emerald Isle but in actuality 'soft' rains tend to wet the ground much more thoroughly and give the soil profile time to push water through rather than ponding. This week it has been far from 'soft' rain. At Sunshine Course in Lemont on 6/9 - 6/10 we had 0.6" of rain overnight which returned the soil profile to saturation. However as I found out that evening the variations in the regions were dramatic. Reports of 0 to 1.4" across the region came in with drying conditions north of the city turning to trashed bunkers and standing water on the south side. The storms that passed through 6/12-6/13 also had dramatic variations. Unfortunately Joliet had 2" but colleagues up at Makray Memorial had 0.4" and no damage. This leads to large volumes of run off and soil erosion - however from an environmental standpoint turfgrass has proven vital to water filtering and negating soil erosion. Thus it is always important to have your turfgrass in optimal condition at all times.

On the up side it is US Open week and already Merion has been eating them up. One other event coming up for us in the Chicagoland is the Encompass Championship (June 17-23) and if you get the chance go out and support the work at North Shore CC.

Click here to view the June 14, 2013 Scouting Report.

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Sunday, June 9, 2013

CDGA Update June 7th 2013

June 7, 2013 Scouting Report

Undoubtedly everyone is waiting for this weather to end and that includes us turfgrass managers - or maybe not! This week on my way around the courses, meeting with superintendents it became clearly obvious how competitive Poa annua is, if it has the right conditions. The last ten days have been party time for Poa and while you may be scratching your heads, the continuation of what begun last week is far from your control. Temperatures have been around ideal for Poa with no consistent heat to benefit creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) growth and this is following a long, wet winter - as I said last week - it's not surprising that it has been a tough start on Poa control this year. The weather data again has pointed toward cool conditions with lower light levels over the last week and it seems that until the middle of next week at least it will not let up. Unfortunately we cannot put up an umbrella and turn on the heaters and so communication with members is a key to management at this time of the year. Once the heat returns - the growth of Poa will go into reverse rapidly and lose density unfortunately. The biodiversity of Poa with annual and perennial biotypes and hundreds of others in between which all have adapted to YOUR golf course in some unique way makes them far more competitive than bentgrass - particularly in this weather.

Click here to view the June 7, 2013 Scouting Report.

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rough and Stuff

The cloudy, misty rains have ended, but the cool nights continue.  Last night (Friday) we had a low of 39 degrees!  Earlier in the week we had frost on the course.  The last few weeks have been ideal weather for poa growth (not bent).  This has affected the rough and greens negatively.  It was decided to lower the rough mowers from 2 1/4" to 1 3/4" on Wednesday, but then on Thursday the mowers were raised back to 2" as it was felt 1 3/4" was to low.  It will take a week or so of cutting before the clippings begin to subside.

Poa on the greens is nearing the end of it's spring seeding, which causes bumpy and slow greens.  With lower humidity and drier greens, speeds are back to normal.  We did not change heights of cut or change our rolling schedule, Mother Nature made the only change.

At a new cutting height of 2", the mowers are leaving behind piles of clippings.  This should start to taper off in a week or so.

We have two large mowers and two smaller ones, all four have been operating 7 days a week (when not broken down or in for service).  We had a water pump go out of one of the main machines this week, but is back in service now.

Yellow Wood, one of my favorite trees.

We have a few Yellow Woods, two near #3 tee and 1 behind the 1/2 way house.  All are about 6-7 years old.  It likes clay soils and well drained.  They do get large, but are a beautiful tree in the spring.

The new brick path at the beach should be completed this weekend.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Green Speeds

Why do green speeds change?

Ahhh the subject that everyone likes to talk about, and some profess they are experts of.  There are lots of reasons why green speeds change, some we can control and others we can not. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly why speeds change (could be mulitple reasons).   Below are some examples (I am sure I missed a few):
  • Height of cut - important, but not one we move around much except in early spring (lowering)
  • Frequency of cut -single vs double
  • Quality of cut - sand on the green; cut will be poor- slower greens
  • Greens mower/ number of blades - some mowers cut "tighter" than others
  • Rolling- type of roller can affect speed
  • Type of grass -bent is quicker than poa (poa seeds grow quick in spring, thus slower)
  • Density of turf -thin vs thick and healthy
  • Verticutting- affects density
  • Topdressing- reduces effective height
  • Fertility- affects turf growth, density, health
  • Diseases
  • Unrepaired ball marks
  • Dragging/ brushing- reduces density
  • Use or growth regulators - rates, timing, types as they wear off, surges of growth can occur
  • Humidity- high vs low
  • Rain or lack of
  • Soil moisture/ ET rates
  • Time of year/ season- spring surge, summer more consistent, fall less top growth
  • Soil temp - affects overall growth, low or high slows growth
  • Frost - stops top growth, in the fall this can increase speed considerably
  • Location of green - shady vs sunny; high vs low (more frosts in low areas)
  • Green construction - USGA vs push up
  • Drainage -poor vs good (wet vs dry)
  • Morning vs afternoon -the grass grows, so typically later in the day= slower
This past week we saw what the effect of weather has on green speeds.  With maintenance practices the same as last weekend, greens were slower.

Average Humidity:
Fri 5/24 - 67%           5/31 - 82%
Sat 5/25 - 69%           6/1   - 83%
Sun 5/27 - 71%           6/2   - 85%
3 day Ave= 69%                 83.3%

Rain - ET
Fri 5/24 -   0.0" - 0.15"     5/31 - 0.28" - 0.11"
Sat 5/25 -   0.0" - 0.06"     6/1   - 0.07" - 0.10"
Sun 5/27 - 0.02" - 0.11"     6/2   - 0.01" - 0.05"
Total         0.02" - 0.32"                0.36" - 0.26"

As a side note, we had frost today (Monday) - with a low of 36.9 degrees (yes, frost on June 3rd)! 

Drier weather forecasted for this week, I expect things to improve.  We are also verticutting and dragging greens today - this helps to "thin" the greens making them smoother and quicker.

Weather is always a challenge - predictions are rarely correct, yet are very important to the decisions we make in managing turf.  The conditions are constantly changing and as such green speeds will always change as much as we try to keep them the same.

Verticutting Greens today (Monday)