Sunday, July 20, 2014

CDGA Weekly Update - July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014 Scouting Report

Well the weather did come through this week, which followed a fantastic week last week but was marred by a very wet weekend. Courses reported 5" of rain on Saturday 12th with the Southside of Chicago taking the worst of the volume. Courses were not able to get completely clear of water in some instances until Wednesday 16th which luckily enough occurred when temperatures were cooler, otherwise some more areas of turf could have been lost in what has been a tough climatological year so far. The cool conditions that have followed have been most welcome and hopefully allowed some courses to dry out ahead of the predicted heat that is going to come in. The heat is not going to be extreme as of right now and so it is to be welcomed to help push growth and dry down conditions to enhance playability.

The Purdue University research field day yielded some interesting information regarding to changes in labels and product use rates particularly on the herbicide end of it. Changes in labels for various product use need to be noted going forward. Dollar spot pressure had been relatively high there as well, but similar to the Chicagoland area other than that disease problems have not been too intense. The one nice thing right now is with the weather forecast (hopefully I don't jinx it again!) is that we are almost at the end of July and it would be really nice to ride this type of weather into early August!

Further field days are coming up, attend them if you can - information and research is always vital and it's the only direct way you and make informed decisions for many things. Finally, remember to get involved with all activities with your local associations, they need your support and the more you put in the more you get out.

Click here to view the July 18, 2014 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

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Look Back and Outdoor Survival

#4 green in the early days (not sure when).  If you look closely in the background you can see the tennis courts and rt-59.  In the small picture on the left is Sam Snead while playing at Biltmore.  (click pictures to enlarge)

#4 green today - 2014
Thursday, four members of my crew helped the the summer camp at the beach in the afternoon with their theme of Outdoor Survival.  Peter, Colin, Cameron and Wyatt helped the campers make homemade fishing poles (and proceeded to catch lots of fish), sling shots and how to start a fire without matches.  They had a great time working with the campers and look forward to helping them next year.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Driving Range Tee - Proper usage

The below pictures were taken on our driving range tee.  With proper usage, it can last most of the summer.

This area will not heal this year.  The seed/soil has no chance when the mowers pass over it as the seed/soil will be"pushed" out, creating a low spot (and an uneven teeing ground) and killing the new seedlings.

This much damage was caused by a few swings, as each swing took a large chunk of turf.  This amount of damage was not necessary for the swings taken.

This is better, thin strips with the ball placed in the back of a previous divot takes less turf with each swing.  Leaving turf on each side of the divot allows the turf to grow back across.  The mowers will also not push out the seed/soil as reels can easily bridge the damaged areas.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Week in Review

The weather has been amazing - we go from 3rd wettest start to summer to a nice cool stretch, but is predicted to change next week back to warmer and more humid temps.

This car was found next to #6 fairway on Monday morning and removed soon after.

Bent grass collars have been showing signs of stress/wear, so we have begun using "turning boards".  Many courses routinely use "turning boards" to reduce the wear on collars.  This adds about 25-35% more time to the cutting of the green.

Below is a video that Adam Garr, golf course superintendent in Michigan made about one day in the life of a golf course superintendent.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

CDGA Weekly Update - July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014 Scouting Report

A week of perfection almost was how we could describe this week. For those of you who had healthy turf starting the week - the end of the week should have been a great finish despite some rain. Blue skies and excellent temperatures really made for the best growing week we have had so far this year. Courses that were suffering from some of the heat and stress of the previous week began to clear up and return to excellent conditions in the Chicagoland area. Further south there were some stressful conditions early in the week but people are looking forward to next weeks summer version of the polar vortex as the early part of the week temperatures are predicted to drop back to highs in the 60's in Chicago while highs in Carbondale the highs are predicted to top out in the mid to upper 70's - glorious!

The British Open is next up for many of us to look at and the talk of brown is better will continue, however it is always easier to do this on sand based soils in weather conditions that are not humid and in temperatures that don't reach the 90 degree mark... EVER. For us particularly in the northern part of the state it is something to always keep in mind when thinking about new grass surfaces and long term sustainability of them. One summer doesn't make a lifetime of putting surfaces unfortunately. Further to that, there is a course rotation for the British Open and so these courses can take ten years off before the next Open which is why they can push their greens to extremes unlike daily play courses - it's not like we can open for one week of the year! Enjoy the viewing but remember links golf only makes up 5% of the golf courses across the pond!

Disease pressure has dissipated somewhat this week, though insect damage did start to show up as courses began to dry out. It seems that bluegrass billbug has made an appearance as a couple of locations failed the tug test. Further to that, adult Japanese beetles have shown up all over and the seedcorn beetle was also found towards the end of the week. Finally field day season has reached us, for the very latest in research results they are a great tool to help you make decisions for that early order program that is surely going to sitting on your desk soon.

Click here to view the July 11, 2014 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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

3rd Wettest Summer on Record

In the past 38 days, 25 have seen rain at O'hare with a total of 9.17" or rain (normal would be 4.29").  At Biltmore we have had 9.05" of rain over the same period of time.  In 2013, at Biltmore (same time frame) we had 11.62" or rain, with 8.5" all in one day, for a total of 13 days of rain.  This year we have had 22 days with rain (out of the last 38 days).  Not only has it been rainy, but humidity levels have been much higher than normal.  So far this year we have only had to water greens a few times.  Fairways and rough, I can not even remember when.  Some might say, we are saving money not watering, but at Biltmore we are always pumping water - in our situation, excess water is being removed by the large pumps located by the creek on #15.  The irrigation pumps have seen a reduction, but the de-watering pumps have been running more than normal.

For the golf course, this has caused a disruption in our planned maintenance, especially with respect to greens.  Monday's are our single most important and  busy day.  The last few Mondays we have had overly wet conditions and/or high temps/humidity which have restricted planned maintenance.  Our normal schedule is to every other week verticut, topdress and hand drag greens, on the other Monday's we needle tine aerify.  In addition to that, we spray growth regulators, fungicides, and wetting agents typically on Monday's (but not the same Monday) as some of these have to be watered in to activate the product.  This is just greens, but the same types of programs are also done on tees and fairways.

When we lose work on a Monday, the maintenance schedule is shifted out of sequence and the effect can sometimes be seen on the course.  To most golfers they might see slower, bumper greens.  

This past Monday, we played catch-up and verticut, hand topdressed, needle tine and hand dragged greens.  This took up the full work day to complete - 10 hours, is our "normal" work day on Monday.  The crew did  great job and went home very tired.  Unfortunately it was to wet for cutting rough, and we had to spend the day clearing the course of branches blown down in the storm Sunday night.  We are now in the process of catching up on the rough and the greens are looking much better after finally being able to do some much needed maintenance.

Today we were finally able to really start cutting rough.  We have all 5 of our rough mowers cutting today.   Some have asked why we don't cut rough when it is dry, to reduce piles of clippings.  The issue with that is we would not be able to start until 10 or 11AM.  With Biltmore being such a tight course, our productivity would drop to a point that we would not be feasible (due to waiting on golfers).  Our normal day starts at 5AM, and this is when we are most productive and easier on the equipment and operators (cooler).

Sunday, July 6, 2014

CDGA Weekly Update - July 4, 2014

July 4, 2014 Scouting Report

There is nothing like a weekend of hot humid weather to finish off a frustrating month and trigger some diverse pest activity on the golf courses. This week we have seen anthracnose activity on bentgrass, some mild pythium damage, further dollar spot activity and some etiolation showing up on turfgrasses. To say it has been frustrating is probably an understatement, further to that however was the gully washer coming through on Monday night which brought relief and subsidence in problems arising. The first test of how surfaces may look for the rest of the summer if it gets hot and sticky was a little uncomfortable - lets hope the NOAA prediction of a cooler than normal summer is true!

Following the intense storms on Monday night there was substantial flooding and soil profiles are of course extremely wet. The sooner we can get some drying out the better we will be as roots definitely did not like how hot it was last weekend. Green speeds suffered a little bit with the moisture which was unfortunate but surface conditions really have begun to round into shape with many courses starting to shine in the summer sun. It is the Fourth of July and I think many people will be happy to see that temperatures are forecast in the 70's and low 80's for the weekend ahead.

The appearance of the etiolation on the turf has been frustrating and there has been a lot of conversation ongoing over the last few years. The management strategy will discuss some of the most recent output and whether or not our research project at Ridgemoor CC has shown any results as of yet. Finally the storm left its mark in many ways this week; luckily the winds did not flatten too many trees and so clean up of limbs and bunkers was the main focus. Let's hope July dries out and the average high is 80 degrees! Happy holiday weekend to everyone.

Click here to view the July 4, 2014 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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Week in Pictures

Twice a month we do water testing on Honey Lake as part of the Volunteer Lake Management Program (VLMP).  Peter and Wyatt collect samples, process them and ship them to the IL EPA labs. There are three sites in Honey Lake that we monitor.  Some of the testing we do on site includes, EC (a measure of salt content), Dissolved Oxygen (at 1' intervals to the bottom of the lake), Secchi Disk readings (measures water clarity) along with other tests.   We have been involved with this program for over 15 years.

The newly sodded greens (7 and 11) are coming along, but a few areas need some extra special attention.  Small holes were made, new seed was spread and sand was brushed into the holes.  On #11 the right side does not see much sun and will struggle being bentgrass.  Bentgrass needs 9 hrs of sunlight, compared to Poa annua which can survive on 6 hrs of sunlight.  We knew this was going to be an issue when we installed the sod, but we did not have many options at the time.  We are looking into ways to correct the sun on this portion of the green, without removing trees - more on that later.

We are continuing to work on that never ending "Honey Do" list - this week we painted all the light poles and signs around the clubhouse.

The flowers are starting to fill in and showing their color.
The decision to remove a tree is never easy.  This past week we removed dangerous (rotten), infected (Emerald Ash Borer) and dead trees.  Today the stumps were ground and in the coming days the holes will be filled with soil and sod installed.  All of this work was done in-house.