A few more of our capital equipment purchases arrived this week.  This round we received our much needed utility carts.  These carts are Cushman Trucksters.  We purchased 3 identical Trucksters like the two in the picture on the left.  These carts will be used regularly for hauling heavy loads.

The new Trucksters replace 2 Trucksters that came to the course in the middle 80's.  1 of the old Trucksters will be traded in, and the other Truckster will be follow one of our old tractors as a donation to The Golf House in Lemont.
The most recent Turf Scouting Report has been posted.  Link here.
We have certain areas in the rough that we give preferential treatment to with the hopes of prolonging turf cover through the summer months.  These areas are the shaded areas underneath trees.  Not all areas underneath trees are maintained this way, only the areas where the densest shade is present.

Plants require light to effectively complete the process of photosynthesis, which is the process the plants use to continue to grow and survive.  If plants do not receive an adequate amount of light, it will not be as strong or as healthy as it could be otherwise.  By the time the light reaches the grass under trees, the most beneficial light frequencies have already been filtered out by the leaves on the trees.  This only leaves the "scraps" for the turf underneath.  This is the reason the turf in shaded areas is much more prone to damage.  Also, once the turf is damaged, it is less likely to recover.

To give the turf in the shaded areas the best opportunity to survive through the summer, we do not mow these spots with our usual equipment.  The majority of the rough is mowed with a gang mower pulled behind a tractor.  We also have several riding mowers we use also.  We chose to prevent these mowers from traveling under the trees in an effort to avoid damage that can be caused from the heavy equipment.  So, we use a lighter mower and walk mow these areas.  Another deviation from the normal rough mowing schedule is we only mow these areas once a week to allow as much leaf tissue as possible to capture light.

You may also notice ropes preventing cart traffic in several of these areas as well.  These ropes are in place to prevent traffic damage from carts.

These turf areas are the weakest on the course, so we do what we can to prevent them from turning to dirt.
This weeks Turf Scouting Report has been posted. May, 21st Turf Scouting Report.
More of our capital equipment improvement have arrived this week.  Two new tractors this year will replace two older one that have been on the property since the early 1970's.

We have purchased two identical tractors, Kubota L4740.  One tractor will be used for mowing the rough with the gang mower, while the other tractor will be used to operate our fairway topdresser.

This is the tractor that the new one will be replacing.  The other old tractor is similar.  One of the old tractors will be donated to The Golf House in Lemont to be used on their research course.
Now that the golfing season is well on its way, I thought I would remind everyone about the club's policies during inclement weather.  The club has a lightning detection system on the property for the protection of the members and the their guests.  There are two sirens for the system, one at the clubhouse and the other near the green on hole 13.

The siren will sound when lightning is close.  One long blast means lightning is close and all golfers MUST leave the golf course, putting green and practice area and return to the clubhouse.  You may also take shelter at the halfway house.

After the weather has passed, the system will sound again with 3 short blasts to indicate "all clear."  Any time you hear one long blast, you must seek shelter off the course, even if you have just returned after and "all clear" signal.


The fescue rough between 10 and 18, and between 18 and 17 was a topic of discussion at the most recent green committee meeting.  There was some concern about the thickness of the grass and the resulting difficulty with locating a lost ball.  The decision was made to cut the grass to a lower height, despite the possibility of loosing the yellow color that occurs during the summer.

The grass that was used in these areas is a blend of fine leaf fescues.  The reason these grasses were chosen is for their aesthetic appearance during the summer months, after they have grown and produced a seedhead, when they turn a gold color.  These stand of grasses work best in sandy soils that do not hold lots of moisture, or nutrients that aid in turf growth.  When these stands are planted on soils with higher amounts of clay, like we have on the course, the stand tends toward a very dense canopy.  The higher amounts of water that are available to the plant for longer periods of time allow the grass to grow a thicker stand.  The picture on the right shows what a ball in the grass looked like before we cut the stand.

One characteristics of these grasses that enhances the golden color are the seedheads that they produce.  By cutting these grasses now, many of the seedheads were removed.  It is likely that these stands will not exhibit the usual color they possess in the summer months after this cutting.

Our method for trying to thin these areas was the use of a flail mower with vertical blades attached.  These blades did not cut the turf horizontally, but cut vertically into the canopy (vertical mowing).

These three areas were the test runs for determining how we would mow the areas on the course.  The strip on the left consisted of the blades moving slow and the tractor moving slow.  The middle strip is the blades moving fast and the tractor moving slow.  The strip on the right is the blades moving slow and the tractor moving fast.  The strip on the right resulted in the least disruption of the height of the grass, but did removed a large amount of material.

Here is a picture of the grass being cut.  The grass was cut in two directions in an effort to remove more material.

After the mower had made the two passes.  We used rakes to clean up the removed debris, as well as stand the grass back up.

After the mowing had been completed, here is a picture of what a ball in the area looks like now.
'The USGA Green Section Weekly Update'

Here is a weekly communication from the USGA Green Section that I will be attaching to the blog.
Verticutting is a maintenance practice that we perform on a regular basis on the course.  Verticutting or vertical mowing is a practice that utilizes a set of vertically oriented blades that cut into the turf canopy while they are spinning.  Depending on the specific goal of this practice, the blades can be set to cut into the canopy at different depths.

This picture gives an idea of how different depths can be applied.  The blade on the left is set at a shallow depth with the intent to cut leaves that are laying horizontally to control the grain of the grass.  The middle blade is set into the canopy slightly deeper to aid in the removal of thatch accumulation in the soil.  The deepest blade on the right is set to cut into the soil as a method of soil cultivation.

Shallow vertical mowing to control grain in the turf can be done several ways.  The picture on the left shows a set of verticutting blades on one of our fairway mowers.  The vertical blades spin ahead of the cutting blade to stand up the grass before it gets cut.  These blades are not designed to be set deep.

These blades are the verticutting units for our fairways.  This set of blades can be set deeper,  however, these are not designed to cut into the soil.

This verticutting unit is used on the greens.  These blades are set closer for the more dense canopy on the greens.  Though these units can be set deeper, we utilize them at a shallow depth for grain control.  We vertical mow the greens about once a month, usually followed by a topdressing.

This picture shows the blades from the underneath side.
This weeks Turf Scouting Report discusses some of the recent flooding on golf courses in the area. May 14th Turf Scouting Report.
This was the scene on the course this morning.  The ponds were out of their banks and flowing down the flood way.  This rain event dropped 1.10 inches and has left the course very wet.  Since May 2nd the rain total is just over 4 inches.  It will take a few days for the course to dry out again, and it looks like the weather might cooperate.

We were unable to get accomplished what we normally do on a Thursday, so the majority of the work has been deferred until Friday.

Water running down the fairway on 11 and the small pond coming out of its banks.

The pond on 17 coming out of its banks.

A little water standing in 15 approach.

The scene in the afternoon was sun and a clearing sky.

The topic this week has been the rain.  We have received close to 3 inches of rain since May 2nd, and more is predicted for tonight.  If carts are available in the coming days, the course will still be wet.  Please reference a past post on cart usage on a soft course here.  We are getting some mowing done today in anticipation of more rain tonight.

On Monday we made a fertilizer application to all of the roughs on the course.  The picture on the left shows the fertilizer in one of our bins waiting to be spread.  We had to cover it over the weekend to prevent in from being rained on, lucky for us, it did not rain on Monday and we were able to make the application.  Usually our fertilizer arrives in 50lb bags, or in 2000 lb totes if the bulk truck is applying, this time 22 tons arrived by the semi load.  Arriving by the semi load wasn't the most convenient, but the price was right.....free.  We did have to pay for shipping, but the fertilizer was free.  We had not planned on a fertilizer application right now for the roughs, but the opportunity presented itself, and we did not want to pass it up.

We did rent a spread to make the application quicker, and we used our own material handler to refill the walk spreaders.  The larger spreader was used around the fairways, while the walk spreaders were used around the greens and tees.  The picture on the right shows the walk spreaders getting a refill.

The typical application involves 50lb bags, or the 2000 lb totes, so this type of application was a first for us.  Everything went well, and we were able to fertilize the roughs on the course, as well as the driving range and chipping area.

The only downside that may come from this application is the odor.  The product is and organic fertilizer from the Milwaukee Sewage Commission called Milorganite, for MILwaukee ORGAnic NITrogEn.  We spent yesterday spreading a by-product of the sewage from Milwaukee residents.  The fertilizer is continually be produced, if a stock pile begins to accumulate, they need to get rid of it, which is how we were able to receive the fertilizer for the shipping costs only.
A short history of the club was compiled through the winter months.  This will be an ongoing project from now on as new information is gathered.  A link to the project has been added under the "History" section at the bottom of the page.  Or click here.
This weeks Turf Scouting Report from the CDGA Turf Staff is available.  Here is a direct link.
For the past three days we have been aerating the rough around greens and tees and bunkers.  Our goal was to create  holes for air and water to enter the soil, so we used solid tines and did not pull cores out.  By completing these areas we hoped to target the majoring to the areas that receive the most cart traffic.  Providing holes in these areas will better allow air and water to enter through the notoriously hard surfaces that persist.

This was also done in preparation of a fertilizer application that we will be putting out soon.

The main concern while aerating is avoiding objects that could cause problems if not properly avoided.  This situation by 18 green is an example.  An irrigation head was hit while making a pass between the green and bunker which broke the connection between the irrigation head and pipe.  The mound is the displaced soil caused by the force of water when the pipe was broken.  This spot has since been fixed, but will require continued attention to return it back to normal.
The pond at 17 green was pretty crowded when I drove by first thing this morning.  Several mothers have decided to keep their new additions around the pond.

This duck and her 6 ducklings have been in the pond for a few days now.

The most obvious of the mothers is this goose tending her nest.  She is sitting directly across the pond from the green.  Just to the east of this mother goose you can notice the nest from a previous hatching.

The previous hatching is likely from one of these families.  One pair of geese has 4 goslings, and the other has 6 goslings.

Apparently the heron felt a little crowded.  He was hanging out in the little pond in front of 11 tee, across the cart path from the pond on 17.
The stone walk from the parking lot was replaced last week with different paving stones.  The previous path had become uneven from the stones settling over time and as a result, more difficult to walk on.  The old stones were removed and some soil was excavated to allow the installation of a gravel and sand bed for the new stones to sit.  The new stones that were put in place were left over from other projects.  The edges of the new walk will receive added attention soon to level the drop from the new walk to the existing grade.

The new seed on the fairway nursery is germinating very well.  The blankets will be removed soon in preparation for it's first mowing.

Our new equipment purchases began arriving a little over a week ago.  I will highlight each one as we receive them.  The first piece of equipment is a seeder that is replacing an older seeder in our fleet.  The new seeder is much easier to operate, quicker that the older machine and causes less disturbance to the surface while it is being used.

The machine seeds by cutting grooves into the turf surface while simultaneously dropping seed into the grooves.  After the seed drops into the grooves, a set of wheels runs over the grooves to close them up, and provide better seed contact with the soil.

We have had this machine on the course several times this week to overseed the driving range tee, chipping fairway, the par 3 tees, and thin areas in the fairways caused by winter damage.

Here, Conny is using the seeder for the first time in the chipping fairway.
A look at the turf after the machine has made a pass.
The most recent Turf Scouting report is uploaded from April 30th.
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