Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April Course Update

It's quite unusual for April but it's actually been a nice, relatively dry, month and with this we've made very good progress on a variety of routine tasks, special maintenance tasks, and improvement projects. With all that is happening right now, it feels more like June than April!  A list of our activities includes:
  • Completion of deep tine fairway aeration.
  • Completion of overseeding of winter injured fairways.
  • Topdressing of greens (2x) and approaches.
  • Topdressing and solid tine aeration of fairways No.s 3, 11, 13, (No. 4 to be completed tomorrow)
  • Aeration and overseeding of thin (shaded or high traffic) areas in rough.
  • Establishing shorter cut walk paths, or "dew paths", in the tee descents leading from tee to fairway.
  • Interceptor drainage channels installed at cart path adjacent to No. 18 green.
  • Continued installation of brick edging and crushed brick at No. 12 green / No. 13 tee.
  • In process of constructing extensions of tees No. 10 and No. 17.
  • & Routine mowing, trimming, bunker raking, debris removal, plant protectant applications (seedhead suppression, nutrient, weed control, disease prevention) , drain and sprinkler head edging, and much more!
A glimpse of our current activities is shown in the following photos:
Javier spreading mixture of sand, peat and bentgrass seed...

into prepared (shallow, solid tine aerated ) winter damaged areas

Miguel spreading crushed brick over fabric covered, brick edged, gravel underlayment

Shaping of subgrade and layout of Championship tee #10

Topdressing approach at #13

Rafa aerating topdressed fairway #3 - process aids incorporation of sand and provides usual benefits of aeration

Jacob putting final touches of incorporation process with drag broom

Approx. 3/8 - 1/2" layer of sand from triple fall and first spring application - a good start!

Topdressing and manually brooming fairway expansion on #8 Approach

Willow at far end of range - victim of high wind last Saturday eve.

Blue Jay enjoying new temporary perch!

More details on our winter injury recovery efforts, tee construction, fairway topdressing, additional course etiquette posts, and much more will be forthcoming.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Course Etiquette #1 - Ball Mark Repair - It's Every Players Responsibility!

    This is the first post in a series I'm planning regarding Course Etiquette. I want to start with the ever so important - Repairing Ball Marks.

    Ball marks, those indentations caused when a ball lands sharply on a green, softened by rain or high humidity, have been ruining good putts since the days of Old Tom Morris. Unrepaired ball marks take two to three weeks to properly heal, leaving behind unsightly, uneven putting surfaces. On the other hand, a repaired ball mark only takes half that time to heal.

    Beginner or pro, it is your responsibility as a golfer to fix your own marks. If you're truly a steward of the game, you'll fix any others you see while your partners are putting. There's really not much to it, but there are a few guidelines you should follow when making these repairs.

    Four Steps to Properly Repairing a Ball Mark
    1.Select a pronged ball mark repair tool, pocket knife, or tee.

    2.Insert it at the edges of the mark--not the middle of the depression.

    3. Bring the edges together with a gentle twisting motion, but don't lift the center. 
    Try not to tear the grass.
     4. Smooth the surface with your putter by lightly tamping. 
    You're done when it's a surface you would want to putt over!

    If we all do our part and repair ball marks as soon as we make them, they'll heal quickly, the greens will look better and, more importantly, the surfaces will be smoother and give you a better chance at dropping that next putt! 
    Photos and portions of text in this post courtesy of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    80 Degrees on April 1st - No April Fool's Joke!

    It's official. Thursday, April 1st, Chicago set a record high temperature of 83 degrees for the date, and here at Skokie CC our weather station recorded 82.85, to be exact! No fooling about it! It was truly a beautiful day, the first time the mercury has risen this high in over six months, and a day that helps us forget for the moment, the long, cold, icy winter. It was only the 12th time in over 140 years of recordings that the temperature has been this high, this early in the year. And it was just in time for the re-opening of the club! We've had the course and regular greens open for the past few weeks but with all areas of the club now back in full operation, carts are available, and the range and chipping area is open for use!

    Every day we make continued progress on the course with spring clean-up, bunker preparation, placing course furnishings (ball washers, benches, etc.) as well as initiating routine daily tasks such as mowing (greens, tees, approaches, fairways, intermediate rough), and course set-up (changing hole locations and tee markers).

    In addition to these items we've been busy with repair efforts on the winter damaged areas on the greens (fortunately not many) and the fairways (unfortunately a few more than we'd like). On the greens this work involved the use of a manually operated spot overseeder known as the German Tamp, then dropping bentgrass seed throughout the affected area and into the numerous, small, shallow dimples created by the Tamp, then lightly topdressing with green dyed sand (the dark color helps absorb some heat from the sun) and finally lightly brooming to smooth the sand and help seed nestle into the dimples.
    On the fairways we use our motorized 4' wide aerator equipped with multiple, solid, pencil sized tines, set to (as with the greens) create numerous, shallow channels for seed to lodge, germinate, and be protected during the early seedling phase. There are numerous small areas throughout the fairways, and some relatively larger areas on #8 fairway. All winter injured areas on greens are already complete, as is #8 fairway, and we will continue to address all affected fairway areas next week.
    A combination of warmer weather, and a little moisture (which we received Sat.morn.and Sun. eve), will not only help our fall applied nutrients to activate for turf availability and help existing turf spread into voids, but also will provide the necessary conditions for our seeding efforts, aiding rapid germination and seedling development.

    Operating Spot Overseeder

    Ready for seed, and green-dyed sand

    Operating fairway aerator with multiple, solid, mini-tines
     Fairway damaged area, aerated and ready for seed

    In addition to the winter damage repair / overseeding work above, we're also in the process of deep tine aerating all fairways. In this process we use solid tines (no soil cores extracted)which creates deep channels (approx. 8-9") with diameters of 3/4" and 1/2". These channels help break up compacted soil, improve drainage, enhance rooting, improve oxygen and gas exchange, improve nutrient movement, and generally enhance plant health. The following video shows this operation, Verti-drain aeration, in process.

    Fairway Deep Tine, Verti-drain Aeration
    Deep Tine - Verti-drain Aeration channels

    I'll keep you posted as to our progress with these and many more activities about to unfold. See you on the course!
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