Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Crew

2013 Grounds Crew
These are the men that make it all happen!  Rarely seen, but their hard work is always noticed.  Thanks to a great crew, I could not do it without them!  Missing from the phone, Jesus Rodriguez (our cup cutter) had a family emergency and should be returning soon.



  


Monday, July 29, 2013

CDGA Weekly Report - July 26, 2013

Scouting Report
July 26, 2013 Scouting Report

It has been a welcome relief week for all of us this week as the stress of last week is somewhat dissipating from a climate standpoint. Long term forecasts also sound promising and it maybe that roots will start growing downward, which makes for a VERY irregular July going into August. If the forecast holds into early next week - opening the rootzone to get oxygen is definitely a priority. It seems that most managers came through the heat in pretty good shape and with time starting to wind down going into August many managers are looking forward to a good finish with healthy turf.

This week many superintendents are turning towards the fall and looking at planning their cultural practices towards the end of the season. Some of the practices such as aeration have been set in place for six months already and members know about them. It might be a good time however to start thinking about getting information together about the plan and expected dates of work. This can be communicated to the members to let them know what is coming and when it will happen. Regardless of when you tell them there will be some misgivings. Most importantly however - tell the members WHY you are doing this and WHAT the benefit is to them. You need to have members involved in their course and this is one way to get interaction. This information will help them understand why their ball runs into the creek next year due to green speed rather than bare soil! Secondly the issue of bacteria has raised its head and I will talk a little about what I have seen with it and what has been going on results wise.

Click here to view the July 26, 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
www.cdgaturf.org
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Flood Restoration Continues

This past week and in the coming weeks restoration of the course from the flood will begin to ramp up.  This past week we installed bent sod and bluegrass on the tees that have been rebuilt. Some of this sod came from Barrington Hills (from tees they are rebuilding).  Once the sod is rooted down we will then restore the second half of the tees (in about 2 weeks).  This week we also begin construction of the maintenance road/path.  This area of the course has always been a challenge to keep turf alive and will be a big improvement.  We will add the red crushed granite to the top when finished.

This week we also installed the sod for the temporary greens (#10 and #13).  so that when we begin construction of the new greens in a few weeks these will be ready for play.  No major projects are planned for next week with MGI, but after MGI we will ramp up repair work.  The contractor has been picked and will begin work on raising #10 and #13 greens.  A soils engineer has specified the geo grid and building process to make the greens remain stable within the peat.  The goal is to raise the greens ~16" higher then they currently are.  Turf that was about 4" higher on #13 green survived, so we believe raising the greens 16" should give us some added insurance.  These will be built to USGA specifications and seeded in late August.  If all goes well the greens will open in June of next year.
After MGI we will also focus our efforts on restoring the rough.  Seeding of weak areas and roto tilling of the worst areas will begin.  It is possible these areas will be recovered by late fall.  It will be a busy August and September, but by late September most of the work should be completed.  Thanks needs to be given to Makray Memorial and Inverness CC for loaning us the seeders for the fairways and rough.

We are restoring the course to a level much better than it was prior to the flood - two new USGA greens, 4 new raised and level tee complexes, leveling the rough with better turf and a new maintenance cart path to name a few things.  It is now time to make some lemonade out of lemons and thanks to the membership for their support and understanding I am confident the end project will be will worth it.


New maintenance path from the shop to right of #13. You can see the rich dark soils of the peat.

The geo grid being installed - the same material will be used under the new greens.

Grade 8 limestone then is installed (8").  After this in compacted the red stone will be put down, in a few weeks.
 
The first phase of the rebuilding of #2, 9, 11 and 14 tees is complete.  In a few weeks we will open these tees and begin work on the second phase, rebuilding the remaining portions of the tees.  If you look closely you can see how high the water was on the arborvitaes.


Work continues to restore #1 and #8 greens.  Each week we add seed and a soil mix to the weak areas of these greens.  The weather has been ideal for recovery.

A hand tamper makes small holes, in which bent seed is added.  Then sand/soil mix is brushed in to give seed/ soil contact.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Driving Range Tee

We need your help - please look at the pictures below about the proper way to use the driving range tee, better known as a our warm up area.  Recovery will take longer if used improperly.  Please try and not take out a large square area of turf, this will not heal until next year.  Long strips can heal from both sides quicker than a large square and hitting from the back of a previous divot saves turf.  Thanks!



Large areas void of turf will take until next year to heal (if even then).

This is better, but long narrow strips take less turf with each swing.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Projects this Week

Today (Monday) we are continuing work to repair the course from the flood along with other maintenance tasks.  We are completing the final leveling of the tees and hopefully lay sod later in the week.  We are also removing some trees - ash infected with EAB (Emerald Ash Borer) and a few others that are safety issues prior to restoring the same areas from the flood.  Before we restore the rough in the #18/#13 area we will be installing service path along the creek (on the South side) work will begin this week.

The board has given tentative approval for the rebuilding of #10 and #13 greens.  The plan is to begin construction on Aug 5th and have the greens seeded before Sept 1. More info as soon as the plans are finalized.  The worst areas of the rough will also be leveled and seeded over the next 6 weeks.   In the long run the course will be better than it was prior to the flood.

Leveling tees - hope to begin sod work late in the week.  New drainage was added to all tees.

Removal of trees infected with EAB and a few other trees prior to restoration of flood damaged areas.

Needle tine aerification of greens - a stressful past week for the turf.  Also applying wetting agents to all greens and tees.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

CDGA Weekly Update - July 19, 2013

July 19, 2013 Scouting Report

Well we are just over half way through the summer season with another six weeks to go until the end of August. Many of you feel that 15th of August means relief and if you have not lost turf by then, you will be good for the rest of the year. This week was the first test and it seems like many of you came through. It is the first however and it does mean that the roots which looked excellent 3 weeks ago are not a happy bunch right now and probably have retracted dramatically. That being the case despite the cool weather predicted early next week, trying to get oxygen down in the hot soil is the best thing you can do early next week. Many people I have talked to this week have cut back on a lot of things, whether its top dressing, raising mowing heights or growth regulation. The understanding that grass is not recovering as quickly and pushing turf harder will lead to problems is clear.

This week mangers dealt with turf issues but I'm sure many of you were also cognizant of people issues.

A few tips from OSHA ahead of the next heat period we may run into include:

-Provide a lot of cool water to workers close to the work area. At least one pint of water per hour is needed
-Schedule frequent rest periods with water breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.
-Routinely check workers who are at risk of heat stress due to protective clothing and high temperature.
-Consider protective clothing that provides cooling how you can protect yourself and theres
-Know signs/symptoms of heat illnesses; monitor yourself; use a buddy system.
-Block out direct sun and other heat sources.
-Drink plenty of fluids. Drink often and BEFORE you are thirsty. Drink water every 15 minutes.
-Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
-Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothes.


What to do when a Worker is Ill from the Heat:

-Call a supervisor for help. If the supervisor is not available, call 911.
-Have someone stay with the worker until help arrives.
-Move the worker to a cooler/shaded area.
-Remove outer clothing.
-Fan and mist the worker with water; apply ice (ice bags or ice towels).
-Provide cool drinking water, if able to drink.
-IF THE WORKER IS NOT ALERT or seems confused, this may be a heat stroke. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY and apply ice as soon as possible.


Click here to view the July 19, 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
www.cdgaturf.org
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hot and Rebuilding from the Flood

Normally July is not the time to be rebuilding tees, or doing any major projects, but we have to do what we can when nature runs the show.  Temps were into the 90's yesterday and predicted to be even higher  today and Friday, with high humidity - so work will continue.  It is too hot to slit seed the rough, we would do more damage to existing turf than it is worth, but once the temps drop out comes the seeder.  Ideal seeding time is from mid August to mid September.  We have completed seeding the thin/bare areas of fairways and the seed is coming up - now keeping it alive is a challenge.  You may see water running during the day, sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.  We have also raised the height of cut on the greens slightly until the heat passes.


If you look closely you can see where a drain went through an area that flooded.  On top of the drain the grass was fine, most likely the bent had more roots within the better drainage and thus better able to handle the stress.  This is one of the areas that was seeded last fall.


Bent seed coming up in the fairways.


Drainage work on #14 tee.  Hopefully by next week all the tees will have new sod installed.  Hard, hot work for this time of year.

Heat Advisory
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL
405 AM CDT THU JUL 18 2013

...HOT AND HUMID CONDITIONS THROUGH FRIDAY...

.A HEAT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST
ILLINOIS AND NORTHWEST INDIANA THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING...

ILZ014-182100-
/O.CON.KLOT.HT.Y.0001.130718T1600Z-130720T0000Z/
COOK-
INCLUDING THE CITY OF...CHICAGO
405 AM CDT THU JUL 18 2013

...HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM THIS MORNING TO
7 PM CDT FRIDAY...

* TEMPERATURE...HIGHS WILL BE IN THE LOW TO MID 90S TODAY AND
  MID TO UPPER 90S FRIDAY. MAXIMUM HEAT INDEX WILL BE 100 TO 105
  TODAY AND 102-108 FRIDAY. LOW TEMPERATURES WILL ONLY BE IN
  THE MIDDLE TO UPPER 70S TONIGHT EXCEPT LOWER 80S DOWNTOWN
  CHICAGO.

* IMPACTS...SEVERAL DAYS OF BUILDING HEAT AND HUMIDITY WILL
  LIKELY RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES. THE
  HEAT CAN BE MOST STRESSFUL ON SMALL CHILDREN...THE ELDERLY...
  OR THOSE WITH MEDICAL CONDITIONS. LEAVING A CHILD OR A PET IN
  AN ENCLOSED VEHICLE...EVEN FOR A SHORT TIME...CAN BE DEADLY.
  INTENSE HEAT COULD ALSO RESULT IN ROLLING POWER BLACKOUTS AND
  BUCKLING OF PAVEMENT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS...IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN
POSSIBLE...RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR
EVENING.  KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT
STROKE.  WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN
POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

CHICAGO RESIDENTS CAN CALL 311 FOR ASSISTANCE AND INFORMATION ON
COOLING CENTERS.

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HOT WEATHER IS EXPECTED.
HIGH TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A
SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. DRINK PLENTY OF
FLUIDS...STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM...STAY OUT OF THE SUN...
AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

CDGA Weekly Update - July 12, 2013

July 12, 2013 Scouting Report

This week I took the opportunity to visit courses in Central Illinois and it was a very nice week visiting and interacting with some of the hard working ingenious superintendents in the area. It's a very different dynamic in central and southern Illinois where issues such as goosegrass and crabgrass are more prolific. Grasses differ and the pressures from disease, insects and weeds are much more difficult to deal with. I would like to thank the superintendents for their hospitality and graciousness when I visited. I will continue to get down and meet people going forward - so if I didn't get to you this time, let me know, I will be back!

The one factor that came up which has been constant was climate and its variation. Golf course superintendents regardless of location understand that everything they do is at the mercy of the climate. There is usually a theme that runs through a season which leaves an indelible mark on the mind going into next year. This week I did pick up some really interesting tidbits which we can all consider as valuable information. In tough years - use the issues you see as testing for the next year. It may be that your product or cultural practice may not have worked this year due to timing or the excess moisture. It does mean that you can start to consider other options looking into next year and also remember what worked for you this year is conditions which brought high disease pressure or high rainfall amounts. If you end the year saying to yourself 'boy I sure hope we don't have another year like that' - as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west - it will be worse! However if you end the year thinking about what changes you need to make to get you through and it's an easier year - then you get to have the benefit of being over prepared. The other topic I picked up on this week was irrigation and water management and I will touch on it in the strategies portion of the report. However the crucial issue and lead point is this - know what the weather is doing to you. Turfgrasses in rootzones that have been wet and get into hot and humid conditions are not going to lose much water - the evaporative pressure to lose it is not there, thus watering is counterintuitive. Micro climates are of course going to throw this off but that comes down to you knowing your course. High sunny days with plenty of air movement are great weather especially after an inch of rain, that doesn't mean that the inch of rain is still there - don't lose turf because you failed to water either - watching and understanding the weather will allow you to do the simple things - and the doing simple things right makes for some good living.


Click here to view the July 12, 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
www.cdgaturf.org
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Monday, July 8, 2013

CDGA Weekly Update - July 5, 2013

July 5, 2013 Scouting Report

That time of year has arrived once again for all of us. It seems the heat or what heat we may get has begun to build. Its also that time of year where problems start to pop up. This is also the time you lose the most sleep and deal with the emergencies while trying not to pull your hair out. It is also the time that we can over manage.... Turfgrass mowed at such low heights is always a difficult proposition to handle and pushing it through heat and humidity usually results in problems. It may take some form of trigger for you but at some stage soon, raising the mowing height a touch and reducing wear and tear from extra rolling and excess topdressing will stop. You know as managers that pushing the turf hard will result in loss of quality not just on greens but also on collars. Over managing is probably one of the biggest problems we create for ourselves. Therefore - that extra application of product, that extra roll or mow just for a few extra inches - is it really worth it? Grass on your greens all year round is a far better sight than not!

In light of the fact this week was a holiday shortened week, I did want to make note of the time of year as most of you probably all know. During the summer the golf course industry becomes extremely hectic. Its tough on you as managers, but its also tough on your families - don't forget to take a moment and get out of the tunnel that is the 6.30 am shotgun start tomorrow. The pressure you put on yourself to produce championship conditions everyday is probably undue, and its not the day to day parts that put the course in excellent condition but more a balanced approach early in the year when grass growth is at its optimum that lays the ground work for the good life during the stress of summer. Sometimes it pays to step back and smell the roses so to speak.

Click here to view the July 5, 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
www.cdgaturf.org
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Recovery - Never Fast Enough

The recovery and repair process has now begun.  It is never as fast as we would like.  Today we worked on #13 green filing in the aeration holes with sand, slit seeding the green and topdressing the green.  Next week we will begin work on the tees and approaches; stripping the sod, adding drainage, leveling and raising the teeing surface and then laying new sod.  The weather forecast is calling for more rain - the models suggest some areas might get up to 7" or as little as a 0.25", I am hoping we are near the 0.25".  See charts below from WGN.

Filling the aeration holes with sand prior to slit seeding and dragging.

The area on the left was seeded last fall.  The newer turf seemed to suffer more than the established turf.  If you look closely you can see where the drain line runs and a riser.  The turf over the drain is greener, suggesting that drainage does help the turf.


Monarda that was under water died when the water receded.  Mondarda that had leaves above the flood wasters lived but for only a few more days.  Most likely the roots have rotted and the first day of sunshine was enough to kill the plants as it tried to respire.  We will wait and see what plants will live before replanting.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Flood Update #7 - The Aftermath

The flood waters are gone, but the pumps on #15 continue to pump flood waters draining from Honey Lake at full capacity.  The pumps have been running non-stop for almost a week.  It will be a few more days and lake levels will be back to normal.  But the aftermath of the flood will continue for weeks ahead.  We did suffer turf loss.  Most notably on #13 green, #2/9 tee, #11 tee, #14 tee and approaches to #13, #10 and #8. We also might have some turf loss in fairways - still a bit early to tell.   These are all areas that drained last.  #13 green sites in the lowest location on the golf course; the hardest to drain and the last to drain.  We will be evaluating the options in the coming days for repairing the damage not only for the short term but the long term.
From a distance things look pretty good.

First mowing of the fairway  after the water went down.  The brown is mostly silt.

The new seeded/expanded fairways is coming back slower than the established turf.

Mowing the rough - as the silt drys, it then turns to dust.


#13 green - the lowest location on the course and the last to drain.  It will take a few more days to see if this turf will come back.


Close-up of #13 green - some life can be seen - time will tell.


Monday, July 1, 2013

CDGA Weekly Update - June 28, 2013

June 28, 2013 Scouting Report

This week I was all ready to produce a profound and deeply insightful scouting report. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning changed that. The problems with rainfall are unprecedented and will leave some of your colleagues in tough situations going forward. The response and empathy however is what struck me strongly this week and followed on from last weekend at the Encompass Championship. As an industry I would like to say that your willingness to lend a hand and jump in to do whatever it takes is astounding in the region. I have been delighted to see volunteers help in so many situations to try and get the job done. The passion that is here for the golf courses you manage has been in plain sight over the last 5-7 days and I would like to say that you all deserve a slap on the back. It is a pity however that this is only the start of the summer!

The teamwork you have instilled in your crews has shone through and I can only say that the golf courses here are benefitting immensely from the same mentality on a day to day basis. In light of the fact that the soil saturation has continued basically all the way since ground thawed, please try, and try some more to get oxygen into your roots. If the 'weather forecast' holds for the upcoming week the cool off in temperatures will provide some relief, but pencil tining your greens is the least you can do to help yourself going forward. This may be also a great time to start considering future drainage projects - so use the problem to create a long term benefit where possible. The crews all deserve respect for the long hard hours they have put in cleaning the courses up and I'm sure they will take all the appreciation they can get - you will need them to step up again so keep them happy! Its events like this, whether, weather or tournaments which make me realize what a great industry made up of great people we are in - long may it continue!


Click here to view the June 28, 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
www.cdgaturf.org
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch