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.

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