The rapidly changing weather patterns this week could be some cause for concern, but we will have to wait and see.  We have received 0.80 inches of rain in the last 24 hours and currently it is over 50 degrees.  All of the great snow I posted about earlier has melted away and only the large piles of snow remain.  0.80 inches of rain is not a lot, but combine that with the snow that was on the ground and consider that the ground is still frozen and you are left with a lot of water on the surface.  I was out walking around today and there is a significant amount of water on the surface.  The pond on 17 has overflowed its banks and is running onto the 16th fairway.  With the temperatures that are predicted from tonight through Sunday, all the water that is on the surface will freeze.  There are some situations where this could cause problems.  If some of the water that is available now is taken up by the plant, then freezes as a result of the temperatures tonight, this could cause the cells in the plant to burst and kill the plant.  Right now the turf is hardened off well and we did not have warm enough temperatures (for long enough) to cause the plant to take up moisture.  Also, when this extra water on the surface freezes it will cause a layer of ice to form.  Turfgrass can survive for a period of time under ice.  Last winter we had an extended period of ice cover in many areas (Winter on the Course-Ice Cover) and only one area resulted in the death of grass (Seen Around the Course - this link also shows how much more susceptible annual bluegrass is ice cover).  We don't expect any damage from this, but we will not know until after the weather moves through.
The snow that was on the course earlier this week provided excellent conditions for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.  However, much of it has melted away with the light rains and warmer weather we have had this week. Here are a few pictures from my walk around earlier this week.

The fence along Chicago Avenue was damaged a few weeks ago when slick road conditions resulted in a car sliding off the road and into the fence.  Part of the damage included 2 of the new arborvitaes that were planted along the fence.  One of them has been broke at the base and will need to be replaced.  The other arborvitae has been displaced but remains in tact.  After the ground thaws in the spring we hope to be able to set it back upright without any further problems.

Congratulations to Pete and Kari who are just down the road at Benedictine University for being awarded with the Sports Turf Managers Association Field of the Year honors for their baseball and softball fields!  Pete Charcut is the Benedictine University Grounds Manager and Kari Allen, CSFM is the Sports Fields Manager.

Benedictine's athletic fields are the best in the country, STMA says

2010 STMA Field of the Year Award winners named

A great short article from the USGA outlines the basics of putting green health.

The Putting Green Performance Pyramid
The Green Department has now set up a Twitter account that we will slowly begin to utilize.  Our name on Twitter is "nccgreens" if you want to follow us.  The link at the top of the blog's home page will take you to our account on Twitter also.
Many of the members have already taken advantage of the snow on the course for their winter activities.  The course is available in the winter time for sledding and cross country skiing.  Of course we do have one request-please avoid traffic on the greens.

Our coyotes has been enjoying the empty course.  We have seen them several times this winter.
Before the snow came we were able to make more progress on the cart path near the 8th green and 9th tee.  The area was fully excavated and the soil was piled in the dump.

Here is a picture of the base layer of stone being added.  Though I don't have a picture, the addition of this layer of stone was completed.

We will not do any further work on this path until spring.  At that time we will pack done the base layer and add the red gravel to the top.
Early this past summer the potential dangers that lightning possess for trees became obvious when we lost a tree on the left side of 2 fairway. Previous posts:

     Losing a Tree
     Some Aftermath from the Rain

Last week lightning protection was installed on a few trees on the course.  These trees were part of an ongoing effort to install protection on what the club has identified as key trees on the course.  These key trees are considered prominent features of the course.  There are several trees throughout the course that have now been completed.

The lightning protection on a tree involves routing cables from the top down the trunk and into the ground surrounding the tree.

The cable are buried in the ground in a line extending away from the tree.  The tree in these pictures is the Elm left of the 13th fairway.
Today we began the installation of a cart path left of the 8th green.  This path will allow us more opportunity to direct carts through the area and keep the turf in better condition during the summer.

We have started by excavating about 6 inches of soil.  After the soil is removed, a stone base layer will be put down and compacted.  We will wait until spring to add the red gravel to the top and finish the path.

We have received our first snow of the year.  It was not a significant amount, and it did not stick around after it stopped snowing.

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