Happy New Year!

That was a headline on the front page of the Naperville Clarion on Thursday, December 2, 1920.  Here's the article:

This article resided in the same location on the following Thursday-December 9, 1920:

The search for club history has been a great succes so far.  My own efforts are not to be credited though.  These two articles were in the files compiled by former club champion and former club president, the late Vern McGonagle.  Mr. McGonagle spent countless hours compiling numberous pieces of history for the club prior to it's 75th anniversary.  Vern spent lots of time gathering fellow members' memories, including Herb Matter, Jr., whos' fathers name appears on a letter to the State of Illinois requesting the state's recognition of "Naperville Country Club" in early 1921. 

I have spent several hours familiarizing myself with the material while I began sorting the pieces.  I have created a new box on the right that I will add documents to periodically.

Don't forget that the course is still open for your winter activities.  Today we began laying out a path around the course for walking or cross country skiing.  We made a path around the course using out skid steer in an effort to pack down the snow.  There is snow in the forecast for the coming days, and we will continue to pack the snow on the path as it arrives.

The hills on our driving range make a suitable spot for sledding as well.  Some have already taken advantage of the hill this past holiday weekend.

Please feel free to come and enjoy your course, don't let the snow stop you!  We only ask that you avoid recreation on the greens, and tees.

Everyone at the Green Department wishes you safe travels and a very Merry Christmas!

There was some mild ice accumulation from the weather pattern that passed through yesterday.  Thankfully, for the trees and the travel conditions, it was only a light coating.  The branches on the trees are hanging a little heavy, and there are a few small branches down on the course.

The snow that we received earlier now has a layer of ice added to it.  If the sun had been out the course would have looked like an ice rink in the pictures.  The ponds have a layer of ice as well, but I wouldn't recommend any ice skating.

There is a chance for more freezing rain, but it looks like it will change to rain.  So, I may have pictures of a flooded course next.
The humorous anecdotes of golf are ubiquitous.  But, it seems, they never cease to satisfy.  Here are a few.

Putt in haste and repent at leisure - Gerald Batchelor

It is a law of nature that everybody plays badly when going through - Bernard Darwin

The most exquisitely satisfying act in the world of golf is that of throwing a club.  The full backswing, the delayed wrist action, the flowing follow-through, followed by that unique whirring sound, reminiscent only of a passing flock of starlings, are without parallel in sport - Henry Longhurst

Always throw clubs ahead of you. That way you don't have to waste energy going back to pick them up - Tommy Bolt

My golf pro wouldn't tell me to visualize my shots if he could see what I see. - Michael Ryan

I don't care to join any club that's prepared to have me as a member - Groucho Marx

Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into a very small hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose - Winston Churchill

Real golfers, whatever the provocation, never strike a caddy with the driver...the sand wedge is far more effective - anonymous

The only thing that counts in golf is the final number on the scorecard.  I always keep my own score.  I mark it correctly, to the best of my knowledge.  But with all the strokes I take on a hole, I think I can be forgiven if I forget one...or two...but one time I went too far.  I made a hole in one and marked down a zero. - Bob Hope
We may be fortunate this year to have a white Christmas!  In the parking lot, we have the biggest piles of snow we have had so far this season.  We had about 3 inches last night, and it has continued snowing throughout the day.  We have pick up another 1-2 inches since this morning.

1 green.

16 green towards 14 fairway.
I have spent a few hours at Naper Settlement and the library searching for some history on the club.  I have been able to find several newpaper articles with news relating to the club.  Most of the articles have been related to the clubhouse fire in 1948.  Here is a newsworthy clip I found in a Naperville Fire Department book:
"One of the more unusual calls took place on September 30, 1936.  A film crew was aloft in a small plane east of town trying to catch the run of the Burlington Northern Zephyr.  The train was the latest innovation in fast passenger service and created much enthusiasm in a country that moved on rails.  What went wrong is not certain, but the plane crashed, killing all four passengers.  The site of the crash was the Naperville Country Club, which is still located on East Chicago Avenue."
The search for any club history will be ongoing.  I will keep you informed of any interesting news I find.  Much of the clubs early history was lost in the fire in 1948.  If you have any history of the club, or know someone who does, feel free to email me, the club would love to gain all the information it can.
This week has been filled with continuing education.  Tuesday and Wednesday we attended seminars offered during the Illinois Turfgrass Foundation's Winter Workshop held at the Golf House in Lemont.  On Tuesday, Dr. Rossi from Cornell University talked about his ongoing research at Bethpage State Park in NY.  For the past 8 years Rossi has been researching the viability of alternative maintenance practices using little to no plant protectants.  Though he has been able to gain much information, all efforts to maintain golf course turf with no plant protectants has resulted in dead grass.  On Wednesday we listened to information regarding the use of organic fertilizers and how to implement them into a program.

Today we attended a seminar at Seven Bridges Golf Club outlining options for control of annual bluegrass.  Unfortunately, not a lot of new information was given, and they confirmed that annual bluegrass is very tough to control.  However, we did come away with a couple of options we may consider trying next year.
Winter projects in the green department have begun.  The first task this winter is refinishing our wooden supplies we removed from the course for the winter.  This include benches, bag stands, divot boxes, and trash can containers.

The refinishing process begins with sanding.  We sand the surface to remove dirt and scratches, and expose a clean surface on the wood that will accept the new finish.  After sanding, a damp rag is used to remove the dust from the surface.  Finally, a new finish coat is put on to ready it for the coming spring.  During the season, we apply a finish coat to give the wood a clean, shiny look.

I can't say it any better than Torres did this morning while shoveling the walks at the clubhouse.  "Mucho frío."  Our weather station recorded -0.4ºF last night.  It currently reads +1.0ºF.  The wind has died down some to help the -20ºF wind chill.  We did not receive a large amount of snow from the storm, but the winds are creating drifts for us to keep clear.  We have started on our inside work for the winter and looks like we will be settling into that routine.  Here are some pictures taken today:

The weather we received in October was not unique to the area.  Poor weather conditions were detrimental to golfing rounds across the country.  From the link below: "Double-digit drops were recorded in many soggy areas throughout the country, with the most dramatic occurring in the upper Midwest."

October rounds down 16 percent nationwide
We did receive our first snow this morning!  It was not a large amount, and it is slowly melting.  However there is more snow in the forecast.

On Thursday we closed the greens, and are now using temporary greens for the winter.  We do this before the soil on the greens begins to freeze.  This practice prevents unrecoverable wear during winter months, turfgrass damage, and soil compaction or displacement.  Reopening of the greens in the spring will occur as temperatures and soil conditions allow.

The main reasons for doing this, in no particular order are: (1) the inability of the grass to recover from wear, (2) traffic on frozen soils can cause much more damage to the grass, and (3) moist soils on the surface, and frozen soils underneath can result in compaction or foot print marks.

The unavoidable annoyance of cold temperatures and the cold soil temperatures in the winter causes the grass to stop growing.  If the grass is not growing, it lacks the ability to recover from damage.  Use of the green surfaces in the winter would cause thinning of the turf due to foot traffic.  Thinning of the turf in the warmer months is not noticed because the greens are continually growing and will fill in the tracking and scratches left from golf spikes.  Preventing all traffic on the greens will allow the surfaces to start the spring growing season in better shape for the coming year.

If the soil surface is frozen, this makes it much easier for the turf plant to be damaged.  The crown of the plant, which is the growing point of the plant, is located at the soil surface.  Any mechanical traffic over the frozen soil can cause much more damage to the crown of the plant.

In the spring, as the soils start to thaw, it is inevitable that the surface of the soil with be thawed, while underneath, the soil will still be frozen.  This opens up the possibility for soil compaction or, if the soil is saturated enough, dents in the green from foot prints causing an uneven surface.  (A picture is available of this in the file under "Further Reading" named Temporary Greens at NCC.  Though the soils in the picture are different from what we have, you get an idea of how bad it could be.)

On the green, we remove the cup, and fill the hole with sand for the winter.  Filling the hole with sand will prevent the edges of the cup from collapsing into the hole.  This make is easier to replace the cup in the spring.

A temporary cup and flagstick are installed in the approach to give golfers an area to hit to.

The short flagsticks are used to preserve our wooden flagsticks that are used through the summer.  It is also much more difficult for the wind blow over the shorter flagstick in the winter.

Reopening of the greens is dependent upon the conditions of the soil, and temperatures warm enough for the grass to begin growing.  Historically, this time has been around the last week of March or the first week of April.
Snowflakes have been late to show for many areas this years.  We saw our first on Thursday.

We are still waiting for our first snow covering of the year.  After checking our records, this year will be one of the latest dates before receiving a major snow covering.

The allied golf associations from the state of Illinois joined forces with Golf 20/20 to assess the economic impact of golf on the state's economy. The results of the "Illinois Golf Economy" were made available to government officials to show the positive impact of the game, and in the coming months the allied associations will continue to publicize the results. The "Illinois Golf Economy" study is presented by the Chicago District Golf Association. A link to the report is on the right under "Further Reading" 

A group of golfers enjoys one last sunset over the course on Saturday evening.  Courtesy of Mr. Allara.
Some final pictures with green grass and sun.

Another step in winterizing the course is closing the Halfway House.  There are heaters inside the building, but as a precaution the water lines are drained and the water is removed from the lines using pressurized air in the same manner the irrigation system was winterized.

The first step is the close the valve on the main water line to the Halfway House.  This valve is located where the old maintenance building sat at the end of the driving range.  Then an air compressor is connected to the incoming water line in the Halfway House and water is forced back through the line to a drain near the 14th green.  This is done to remove the water from the line going to the Halfway House.  Once this is done, the air is redirected to the fixtures in the building.  Each fixture is turned on until air begins to blow out.

When air has filled the lines, RV anti-freeze is pumped into the lines, and poured into the toilets, sink drains and floor drains.

The coolers at the Halfway House are emptied and shut off.  The heaters are then turned on and set for the winter.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  We will be back next week.
After the equipments use for the season is done, it is thoroughly cleaned before the start of it's winter work.  Our crew spends several days going through all of the equipment with degreaser, brushes, power washer, towels, and wax.  The equipment cleaning was started on Monday, and continue into next week.

The guys power washing and scrubbing the equipment.

 Our finished fairway mowers.

Once the equipment cleaning has been finished, the winter work on the equipment is done.  This involves sharpening all the reels and blades, oil changes, touch-up paint, etc.  Look for more updates on winter work of the equipment over the next few months.
Another maintenance practice that is indicative of the fading golf season is our final fertilizer application called the dormant application. This application was completed on Monday this week. We again utilized the service of a company to apply the fertilizer over 80 acres of fairways and roughs.

The late fall application is an important application for the health of the turf through the winter months, as well as green-up when the cold temperatures break in the spring time. The timing of the application is the most important aspect of this application. The goal is to spread the fertilizer after the grass has stopped growing, and the last mowing; but, before the ground begins to freeze. Though the leaves above ground have stopped growing for the year, the roots will continue to be active until the ground becomes frozen. This means the roots will be able to take in the nutrients from the fertilizer application, and instead of utilizing the energy for growing leaves, it will us the energy to grow roots and store nutrients. These stored nutrients become important when the turf starts to grow again in the spring. The stored energy allows the turf to green up sooner in the spring, and begin to grow out of the winter dormancy quicker.

The fertilizer application was made on Monday using the application service. They arrived at around 6:30 in the morning and had were leaving the course at 3:30 in the afternoon. During their time on the course they were able to apply 22,500 lbs of fertilizer over 80 acres of the golf course. Utilizing the application service is an extremely efficient way for the us to apply large amounts of fertilizer very quickly. Here are a couple of videos showing the truck in action on the course:

We purchase the fertilizer from a company locally, but the application truck travels here from Ohio. The truck brings the fertilizer in 2000 lb. bulk bags, and pulls a trailer with the application truck on it. Here are two videos showing the truck refilling:

Winter conditions bring the maintenance on the golf course to a halt. However, there are a few pathogens that continue their activity through the cooler months. These pathogens cause diseases most commonly referred to as pink snow mold and gray snow mold. Our efforts to control these pathogens and limit damage caused by the diseases consists of a fungicide application.

Pink snow mold is the most common snow mold in this area. Though both diseases can occur, gray snow mold is most common and most severe in areas with prolonged snow cover.

We began our snow mold applications on Friday. Greens, tees, fairways, and practice areas (all areas with bentgrass) will receive an application of fungicide. There will be some areas in the roughs and bunker faces that receive an application as well. Areas that collect snow drifts or are a north-facing slope tend to have prolonged snow cover and will be more susceptible to disease.

Pink snow mold

Gray snow mold

Friday we completed the application on greens, fairways, and practice areas. This coming week we plan to finish the applications on tees, and rough areas.
Today and yesterday's labor was directed towards completing a final mowing on all areas of the golf course. Temperatures have become cool enough and days short enough to cause the grass to slow it's growth for the winter months.

Alejandro mowing the 11th green on Thursday.

Torres mowing the 5th fairway on Thursday.

Greens, fairways, and approaches were mowed for the final time on Thursday. Tees and rough were mowed for the final time Today. There only remains a small number of leaves in the trees, so the final rough mowing today will mulch the leaves on the ground as well. Now that the last of the mowing is done, we will begin a thorough cleaning of all the mowing equipment next week.
The winterization of our irrigation system is underway. We began the process on Tuesday afternoon, and should be finishing by Thursday afternoon. Winterization of the irrigation system involves removing the water from the lines and heads, as well as changing our pump station configuration.

Removing the water from the lines is easier than it sounds. This involves connecting a large air compressor to the piping system and allow the air to push the water out of the lines.

Air compressor used to fill the piping system with air.

This is showing the air compressor hose connected to the piping system.

Once the air compressor is connected, the heads are manually switched on at the satellite boxes to open the heads and allow the air to push the water out. The next two pictures show the water vapor in the air coming out of the irrigation heads.

Most courses power down their pump stations as part of the irrigation system winterization. However, our pump station for the irrigation system also pumps the water for our emergency sprinkler system in our maintenance facility. Shutting off the power to our pump station is not an option for us. We do have a valve that we close to block the water flow in the main line out of the pump station. This allows for all of the lines on the course to have water pushed through them while our pump station is still active and the emergency sprinkler system line is still pressurized. We have a heater in our pump station that keeps the water in the building from being exposed to freezing temperatures.
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home