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!

1 comment:

  1. Donald, great blog! Just ran across it in some web searching. The latest edition to your golf shop staff, Daniel, is a good friend. Your course looks great! Keep up the good work.


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