Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break 2014 - Washington, IL

Spring break is typically a time to relax somewhere warm, but this year I had the pleasure chaperoning 11 Barrington High School (BHS) students to volunteer with the cleanup from the November, 2013 tornado in Washington, IL as part of the Go Beyond Barrington (GBB) non-profit organization.  In 2011 after the tornado in Joplin, MO I challenged our Boy Scout Troop 21 to find a way to help and from this the GBB was formed to partner with BHS.  In 2012 and 2013 GBB went to Joplin, MO to help the high school students and residents.  Over those two years in addition to volunteering to help clear debris and work with Habitat for Humanity they also donated $40,000 which was raised by the students from varies events thought the year.
This year the group helped clear debris, sort clothing and demo the in inside of a damaged house, down to the studs.  The owner of the house was very grateful for the help and very impressed with the work ethic of the students, all of which had never done this type of work before.   It was dirty, dusty and physically challenging.  In one day the group filled 3, 40 yrd dumpsters with drywall, cabinets, flooring and insulation.
An impactful moment came when the owner of the house told us their story of when the tornado hit.  The father was outside and saw the tornado coming and in his hurry back inside to gather his family and rush to the basement he forgot to close the garage.  The garage was then ripped from the house, along with the roof.  All of the windows were instantly broken.  After coming up from the basement with their two year old daughter to survey the damage, the daughter said, “My swing set is gone!”   The father told her, “don’t worry we will replace it.”, and she said, “Ok, but I want a pink one this time”.  All of the houses around them were completely destroyed.  6 people lost their lives that day in and around Washington and unlike Joplin, most homes here had basements.
This year GBB raised and donated $10,000 to the relief organization Behthany Community Church located in Washington, IL.   The church has organized over 8,000 volunteers to work on the clean up so far.
For more information about Go Beyond Barrington, visit their website at and on Facebook.

The golf course in Washington was also hit by the tornado.  Cleanup was just beginning.

One day was spent gutting the house down to the studs so that rebuilding could begin.

The students from Barrington High School who spent their Spring Break in Washington, IL

These stars of hope were placed around the city, similar to what we saw in Joplin, MO.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Brutal winter is slowly being revealed

As the snow and ice slowly melt, the true extent of the damage is starting to show up but the full extent will not be known for at least a few more weeks.  Some areas look pretty bad, but on closer examination their appears to be some signs of life.  We will have some ice and desiccation damage, just how much is yet to be know.  The new greens (10 and 13) seem to be in the best shape coming out of the winter so far.  Evergreens also suffered from the low temperatures and high winds during the winter.

Taken  Wednesday AM - even with the light rain, snow and ice still cover large areas of the course

#11 Green - high greens were exposed to cold winds and show widespread tip burn.  In a few weeks we will know more, looking closely they appear to be alive.
Concolor Firs on #4 tee experienced tip burn as well.

Our drainage paths that we created on the lower greens seems to have helped move water off the greens, but some of the poa was still damage from the ice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

More Snow

More snow fell last night, about 2-3".  We had  a good day of melting and on the higher ground turf started so show through, but large drifts still remain and in most areas the snow depth is about 12" with 2-4" of ice.

Creating drainage ways on the greens.  We don't want the melting water to pool on the greens and form more ice.

Wind swept areas had less.

Large drifts still remain.

New snow last night just added to the record breaking snow totals.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Snow is Melting; Slowly....

The snow has started melting, albeit slowly.  On average there is about 18" of snow an the course with drifts of 2-4' in some areas.  We have started our winter tree trimming and it to is going slower than normal with all the snow on the ground.  The temp on the golf course at 1PM today (Tuesday) was 47 degrees, lower than you might see reported elsewhere, due to the amount of snow and ice it is keeping the course cooler.

We pulled a few plugs from three greens - #1, #8 and #13.  The ice cover in all of these areas was about 4" thick.  It will be a few days before we know for sure how the turf from these samples will do come spring, but all three had some signs of life, with the sample from #8 showing the most stress but by the end of the week we will have a better feel for how things might come out of this harsh winter.

Click pictures to enlarge.

The ice on the greens is about 4" thick with 12-24" of snow cover.

Sample from #13 green, which was rebuilt last fall.  Pure bent 007.  The grass looks great.

Sample from #1 green, in the back right (low area).  Grass looks good, this area is also mostly bent.

Sample from #8 green, in the back middle (low area with shade).  This is a mix of bent/poa.  There is signs of life, but by far not as healthy as the other two samples.  We will see how it does over the next few days.  This sample also had a smell of "silage" - not a  good thing.