A Wild Week of Weather: A 90+ Degree Day, Significant Wind Injury Hits Chicago, New x 3 (Anthracnose, Brown Patch, Pythium Blight), Japanese Beetles in Central IL, Dollar Spot and Spenophorus Catches Tim's Eye 

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org

Not a good week. We endured a bad storm with winds of 70-80 mph this week and it put Chicago's weather on national news. For more photos and information about the storm see http://blog.chicagoweathercenter.com/. As you can see my introductory list of current disease issues has quickly grown. It means we've crossed the threshold into summer, and this one has already been especially challenging. We've only experienced four days of summer so far and its hard to keep up with new reports. Fluctuating temperatures are met with overly humid environment. This week it meant violent thunderstorms and for me diagnosis of three new diseases - anthracnose basal stem rot, brown patch, and Pythium blight. Fluctuating? On Tuesday the predicted high for Chicago was in the 90s and Sunshine Course in Lemont recorded 91 degrees. By Thursday and Friday our highs were just barely breaking 70 degrees. 

Some Chicago courses were closed on Wednesday and power-outages meant the windy city would slow (traffic lights out everywhere). Courses who were littered with debris across entire fairways reported their clean-up was complete by Friday. How these guys do it I do not know. 

Click here to view the June 24, 2011 Scouting Report. 

Have a good weekend...next week we'll have shorts on again. 

Derek Settle, PhD 
Director of Turfgrass Program 
Weather Blog 

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS 
Manager of Turfgrass Research 
Research Blog 
We finally have some dry weather in the forecast over the next few days.  If you have asked me how things were going on the course lately, it is a good chance I mentioned we could use some dry weather.  The soil has been near saturation for sometime now due to the regular rain intervals we have had.  The wet soil is fine for brief periods, but extended time periods with wet soil is not good for the turf.  Turfgrass roots need oxygen for proper growth, and a large amount of moisture in the soil displaces the oxygen from the soil.  While playing recently, you may have noticed mushrooms in the roughs and fairways.  This is a good sign that the soil is too wet.

This is another good sign of wet conditions.  This is called slime mold.  It has no adverse effects on the turf.

A great picture of a suspected slime mold last year. Click to enlarge the picture for a better view.

Aside from problems that can occur to the growing environment from soil being wet, playing conditions are not as ideal when the course is wet.  Balls can plug in the fairways and cart traffic can cause some damage.  Have a firm, stable surface is much better for the playability of the course.
As one would expect, the biggest event the club hosts each year does require an extraordinary amount of work by the clubhouse staff and the green department.  Preparations start well before the event takes place, and the tear down last a few days after the event is over.

The earliest efforts the club makes are with the Naperville Fire Department and the pyrotechnicians to receive the appropriate documentation and permits for the fireworks.  But, the bulk of the efforts start after the driving range is closed on Sunday morning.  Several pieces of rented equipment show up during the week that need to get put in place on Sunday morning.

Dumpster getting unloaded for all the extra garbage the accumulates when you host a party for 1000 people.

A refrigerated trailer is brought in for the beverages during the event.  It arrives a couple of days so the beer and beverages can be loaded and chilled before the event starts.

The helicopter landing area is roped and painted.

The trees and bushes around the driving range are treated for mosquitos on Sat. and Sun. mornings.

Most of the tables and chairs are ready to be put into place on Sun. morning.  The red flags are marking irrigation heads on the driving range tee.  These are marked to ensure tent stakes are not driven through irrigation heads or lines.

The fireworks beginning to be set up on Sunday morning.

Tents being set up on the driving range tee.

The helicopter.

An eager crowd...

and the fireworks staged...
A month ago we were regularly seeing a pair of Cormorants in the pond on 17.  One day we saw 2 pairs hanging out in the pond.  These birds likely stopped of during their migration north.  We have not seen them around lately.  The Cormorant is fun to watch in the pond.  It is a diver, and I was able to catch a video of it diving.  The feathers on Cormorants are different from ducks, in that they do not repel water.  This picture on the left shows the Cormorant raising out of the water and flapping its wings to dry them off before it starts to fly.

This video shows the pair of Cormorants in the pond, and you can watch one of them dive.  You can also see the blue Heron at 0:20, and the Snow Egret fly through at 0:40.

This was a project that we had a hard time finding good days to complete.  The crew did a fantastic job on the days that we could work on it.  We started planting these 10 days ago and through 4 days of rain, 2 outings, and a weekend they have been completed.

The crew used a piece of equipment to move the arborbitaes, but the prepping, digging, and backfill all had to be done by hand because of the small space.

(l to r) Adolfo, Alejandro, Antonio, Conny, Gustavo, and Inocente work at planting the arborvitaes.

We were able to sidestep the brunt of the storm, but the evidence of it was still present on the course.  1 small tree was lost, one large branch (pictured left, between 12 & 13 fairway), and lots of small branches and debris.  We also received 0.80 inches from the storm and another 0.15 inches through the day today.  We were able to make progress on the cleanup today.  Most of the smaller debris has been cleaned from the course.  We plan to get the larger debris cleaned up tomorrow.

This is the tree that was lost last night.  A small hawthorn between 2 & 9 fairway.

A fuzzy picture, but another branch down.

We were fortunate to have not had any disruption to play through this.  Other courses in the area were not as fortunate.  Through mid-afternoon, some other courses were still without power and/or cleaning up more than 20 trees that were lost.
The problem at the well has been repaired and water service will be back on to the Halfway House starting Tuesday.  We are not sure the exact sequence of events, but several leaks were repaired at the well that sits under the 2 man holes in front of the blue tee on 3.  We believe that the pressure tank began leaking which filled up the vault it sits in.  As this happened, the tank began to float as the water level increased in the vault.  Then as the tank shifted, it caused two other locations in the pipe to fail.  We may need to make some finishing touches to it, but no water service should be interrupted.

A look inside the vault in front of the blue tee on 3.
Last week the crew began adding to the line of arborvitaes that were planted last fall.  This was an unplanned project for this year, but after the city made repairs to a sewer line near Chicago Ave. (Work On Cart Path Near 1 Green), the club had the opportunity to work with the city to repair this area.

One arborvitae will go to replace one that was broken during the winter months, after being the victim of a car sliding off the road and through the fence.  The rest will continue the line along the fence towards 2 tee.

This will be a time consuming process to plant these.  The confines of the location prevent the use of bigger equipment, so hand digging is the only method available.  We hope to have this work done by the end of this week.  While this is being done, the cart path to 2 tee is closed to allow room for the crew to work.  Carts can drive along the path in the rough to get to 2 tee.
Summer Starts Next Week: Temperatures Become Normal, Signs of Fairy Ring, High Soil Moisture Impacts Weather, Peter Likes Bluegrass Cadillacs, and Tim Says Kingpin, CY-2, and Memorial 

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org 

We've had a pretty good week as far as turfgrass health goes. A large rain event occurred on Wednesday and totals across Chicago's south suburbs were more than we needed (again). The 1.6 inch deluge in Lemont made me worry a bit, but the rest of the week we continued a drying trend. I had forgotten to keep my world in perspective and Chicago's northsiders were without last week's floods. Unlike 'saturated us' they had begun to experience drought stress. How about other parts of the country? Another season of weird weather patterns remains the norm. Texas and Kansas are seeing record heat accompanied with volitile storms. The upper Midwest continues to experience periodic flooding and temperatures haven't been normal until this week. 

What else? We've begun to experience low humidity levels (30-50%) each afternoon - a new pattern as we segway into summer. Midday wilt stress has begun to impact golf green surfaces, especially those that are predominantly Poa annua. Anthracnose basal stem rot may soon be in our neighborhood because wilt is the major trigger. Other than that, Japanese tree lilacs are in full white bloom on every street corner. Summer officially begins next Tuesday and we're ready. 

Click here to view the June 17, 2011 Scouting Report. 

Have a good weekend and enjoy Father's Day. 

Derek Settle, PhD 
Director of Turfgrass Program 
Weather Blog 

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS 
Manager of Turfgrass Research 
Research Blog

Naperville Country Club, host to many a legendary golfer and recent winner of several prestigious design awards, celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.
When a group of Naperville businessmen who, enamored with the new recreational sensation sweeping the nation, applied to the state of Illinois to form the Naperville Country Club in 1921, they established a tradition that would help define the business and social lives of many Naperville families for generations.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the venerable golf and social club that was founded during the golden age of golf in the U.S.
“The club has been one of the building blocks of the community — a center of family, business and community moments, including receptions, weddings, charity events, Rotary meetings, high school tournaments, engagements, baby showers, client meetings, company outings and golf with Dad,” says Tim Anderson, club manager and superintendent. “This is essentially a family-owned and operated small business, and it has proven to be one the most successful in the city, operating in the same location for 90 years.”
In the beginning
As the country was entering the prosperity of the Roaring ’20s, the Naperville community was growing as well. Boasting municipal services that included electricity, gas, water and sewer, paved roads, an established public school system, Nichols Library and North-Western College, the city also had a thriving business community, including several banks and retail operations and anchored by Kroehler Manufacturing. When a small group of local golfers placed an ad in the Naperville Clarion in December 1920, they were surprised to have almost 40 residents show up to a meeting at City Hall.
The group, headed by Herbert Matter Sr., Charles L. Swartz, James L. Nichols Jr., Ezra Miller and Henry E. Rennels, set about acquiring land. They settled on 130 acres of broad pasture with rolling hills and Hawthorn and Black Cherry trees belonging to Delcara Sleight, an avid golfer and daughter of Delcar Sleight. Delcar had owned a large spread of land in what are the North Central College area and the Highlands. He also had acquired the parcel south of the Burlington and Quincy tracks, known by the community as “the top of the hill” from farmer Jacob Brossman in 1868. Delcara Sleight would become the first female member of the Club.
One-hundred-twenty-two charter members paid $100 each and $25 annual dues to get the club started C.B Kroehler bought the first 10 corporate memberships.
By March, a newspaper account noted that the grounds committee, chaired by banker August Germann of Naperville Savings and Loan, was “actively clearing the grounds of stone, brush and old fences.” Theodore Boecker Jr., of Boecker Coal and Grain, loaned a team of horses to help clear the fairways.
The original nine holes with sand greens and pasture turf fairways gave way to an 18-hole regulation course designed by Tom Bendelow, known as “the Johnny Appleseed of American golf,” for the fee of $30. Bendelow, one of the nation’s leading golf course architects, would build over 650 courses, including renowned St. Charles Country Club.
Naperville’s course, featuring sloping grass greens, minimal fairway bunkers, a train platform on the fourth tee and a well for irrigation, was completed in 1927. Planned tennis courts, skeet shooting range and pool were never competed.
The original clubhouse was nothing more than a wooden shack, but the industrious women’s Porch Committee saw to it that a large porch was the center of social activities, with swings, easy chairs, hanging baskets and victrolas.
Herb Matter Sr. became the first club president. In addition to working in real estate, Matter would write a column for the Naperville Sun from 1978 to 1996.
Social club
Fran Barenbrugge, 84, joined the club in 1956 as a young executive and entertained clients there. He says he and his wife’s social life revolved around the club for many years. In addition to golf, he describes weekend pitch tournaments with 40 to 50 men playing. He also remembers escorting his wife to dances and bridge nights.
“I would take my five boys to hit whiffle balls on Sundays so my wife could go to church.” Barenbrugge remembers. “All the boys played for their high school teams; one went on to play for Western Illinois and one was the captain of the NIU team, so I guess it paid off.”
Barenbrugge’s son Dirk later became a second generation member, taking his father’s advice about entertaining customers over golf.
With the exception of the installation of an automated irrigation system in 1966 and the loss of 32 trees to vandals in 1977, the course remained substantively unchanged until after the deluge of 1996 that brought 17 inches of rain to Naperville in 24 hours. When portions of town west of the club flooded, members began talks with design consultants Arthur Hill, Steve Forest and Associates. The result was a redesigned course that was constructed in 2006 featuring the rerouting of 13 holes, the reconstruction of tees and bunkers, a new irrigation system, Halfway House, maintenance facility, parking and pond reconstruction.
The construction included the cataloging and relocating of 150 trees, the addition of 200 new trees, the incorporation of native areas and the establishment of wetland areas. The new course also has increased wildlife, including deer, coyote, foxes, numerous birds, red tail hawks and blue heron.
Since the grand opening in 2008, the course has gained national recognition, named Golf Inc. magazine’s Renovation of the Year for private clubs, receiving Golf Course Industry Magazine’s Heritage award for Best Reconstruction and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois Merit Award for Special Projects. The project was also a nominated finalist for Golf Digest’s Renovation of the Year, and earned Steve Forrest Golf Course Architect of the Year honors by Boardroom Magazine.
In addition, superintendent Tim Anderson was named master greenskeeper by the British and International Greenskeepers Association, an honor bestowed on just 49 professional superintendents in the world and only 14 in the United States. Golf Pro Jim Arendt, an active member of the PGA Quarter Century Club, has been recognized by the IPGA as a senior master for his career-long dedication to the game of golf.
“This course is a testament to the relationships and faith of the members,” says member David Tierney. “The committee brought together about 150 years of combined golf experience. When you only get to do this kind of project once every 40 to 80 years, you want to get it right.
“I think the course makes the most of the beautiful terrain, and really is a nice walk in the park. The course embraces the land so it looks like it was meant to be here.”
Best of times
Gregg Beggs, who joined in 1969, remembers sledding with the kids in the winter and golfing with them in summer, although he says they only golfed to humor him.
“I still remember my son standing on the fifth green and asking if it was time to go in yet.”
He describes the patio on a summer night as the most beautiful place to be in Naperville.
Long-time Napervillian Bev Frier joined the club in 1967 in anticipation of her first husband’s recovery from illness. Once she was widowed, friends “fixed her up” with club member Bill Frier in 1973 and encouraged the courtship. The couple was engaged six weeks later.
“I think some of my best times have been there, even though I’m not much of a golfer,” she says. “I go for the social life and the exercise.”
On her 80th birthday, girlfriends decorated her golf cart with balloons and streamers, presented her with a basket of 80 pastel golf balls, and placed pictures of her on every tee box throughout the course.
“I look back on my friendships and experiences at Naperville Country Club as among my very favorites,” Frier says. “It’s really been a big part of life here.”
Courtesy of Deborah Newman for Naperville Country Club
The club has played host to several events over the last 5 days.  We were fortunate that the thunderstorms late last week did not prevent any of the events from being postponed, however the rains that came with them have left evidence of the soggy soils they created.  Carts were allowed on the course to better accommodate the large amount of play and a few areas have been damaged from the cart traffic.  These areas have been roped off, and now that the soil has dried, were not as bad as we had originally thought.  We thought some sod work was going to be necessary, but we will now apply supplemental fertilizer to these areas to aid with recovery.

Monday the course played host to an annual outing that is perennially the busiest day of the year.  This has resulted in the divots and ballmarks that come with normal play.  Another member event yesterday, along with member play has added to the divots and ballmarks.  Check the June Divot Digest for more information on ball marks and ball mark repair from yesterday's post.

Nothing lasting will come of these events, however the short-term will show evidence of the heavier than normal play.
A ball mark is defined as a depression or tear in the putting surface made by the impact of a golf ball. Nothing is more frustrating to a player than an unrepaired ball mark that causes a putt to veer off line. No matter what the facility, or level of play, all golfers are responsible for repairing their own ball marks. An unrepaired ball mark can take 3-4 weeks to heal, leaving behind an unsightly and uneven putting surface. A properly repaired ball mark will completely heal in half that amount of time (2-3 weeks). Even more surprising is the fact that an improperly repaired ball mark will actually take longer to heal than an unrepaired ball mark. Ball marks that are improperly repaired can take over 38 days to heal.

All ball mark repair methods produce a scar. The scar is the result of damage to the leaf tissue sustained at the moment of impact, combined with the subsequent root damage that occurs during the repair process. The key is to minimize the scar by repairing the ball mark as soon as it occurs, and to use a proper repair technique. There are many different ball mark tools available. The USGA does not endorse any single tool as being superior to another. University research has demonstrated that repairing a ball mark in a timely manner, and the use of proper technique, has a far greater influence on recovery time then the type of tool used to make the repair. Methods that gently “push” or “pull” the surrounding turf into the void are recommended. Under no circumstance should you ever “lift” or “pry” up on the ball mark. Lifting will expose the soil and tear the roots resulting in a longer recovery period. After you have repaired the ball mark it is very important to smooth the area with your putter or foot. At mowing heights of less than 1/10th of an inch, any ball mark that is left high will be scalped by the mower resulting in greater damage.

from the GCSAA
As stewards of the game it is up to all of us to care for the course by repairing ball marks. Every morning the maintenance crew fixes improperly and unrepaired ball marks from the prior day. The problem is that the damage is already done. Golfers do not intentionally ignore their ball mark. Typically, unrepaired ball marks are the result of golfers that are either unable to locate their ball mark or are so engrossed in their game that they forget to check for a ball mark. Please inform your children and guests of the importance of properly repairing ball marks in a timely manner. Pay extra attention to ball marks in the spring when the greens are soft. The majority of ball marks are located on the front third of the green. This is especially important to remember if you are using a cart and the cart path takes you to the back of the green. Such is the case on holes #3 and #10. Ball marks are more prevalent on par 3’s and holes with short approach shots (for example hole #1). The Pro Shop has a supply of ball mark repair tools. Please pick one up for your golf bag.
Hot then we Flood: Counting +90° Days, Dollar Spot Impresses Me, Peter Sees Flowers, and Tim says W. circinata var. circinata (again) 

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org

More flooding? We are weary of an early warm-up each growing season because we know those temperatures are more than cool-season turfgrasses can take for long. However, a silver-lining was in the forecast this week - a dramatic drop in temperatures would take place and turf managers in Illinois were comforted. As it would turn out I was miles away preparing to speak to a group of turfgrass scientists in Fort Collins, Colo. That night, Thursday, I received an important update via email. I asked about the weather and the response was not good. "Romeoville/Lemont got hit hardest 5+ inches. Better check in at Golf House!" The irony for me was that earlier in the day the good professor from Arizona had taught us that a water shortage existed in many regions. His phrase "dry socks" illustrated the predicament of the western United States. In my introduction the next day I would say "Wet socks!" Each season, significant weather events are recorded (and memorized) as they directly impact growing conditions. Flooding on June 9 is already an important event for Chicago weathermen. Likely it will become an important date for those of us who keep plant health records. To be continued... 

Click here to view the June 10, 2011 Scouting Report. 

Have a "dry sock" weekend if possible. 

Derek Settle, PhD 
Director of Turfgrass Program 
Weather Blog 

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS 
Manager of Turfgrass Research 
Research Blog
Watch us prep the 18th hole in 5 minutes.

The most recent issue of the USGA Green Section Record includes a fact sheet of information about the US Open at Congressional.  With the club's Invitational being played this week, I thought you would be interested to see how the fact sheet for our Invitational looked next to the fact sheet for the US Open.

*The fact sheet for the Invitational is what we had planned-before 3.10 inches of rain fell.

Here is a link to the Congressional Country Club fact sheet from the USGA.

Here is a link to the Invitational compared to the US Open.

2.80 inches of rain has accumulated on the course today.  There will be no carts available for Thursday.  It came very quickly as well, so water is rapidly running through the course.

The rain has stopped now and we are beginning work to repair bunkers and clean up the branches that have fallen.

Here is a picture of the water backing up at 3 tee.

Another picture showing the water across 2 approach.

The course did receive 1.25 inches of rain overnight, and the picture on the left is showing more is on the way.  We have not been able to get the crew on the course yet due to the lightning we are receiving.  Carts will not be available to start the day.

For review, here is a link to a previous post regarding the club's lightning detection system:

Weather Policy and Lightning Safety
The club's history and the Green Department blog were recently featured in the pages of On Course magazine, the monthly publication of the Midwest Association of Golf Course Superintendents.

NCC was featured on the cover of the April issue of On Course in conjunction with the MAGCS monthly meeting that was held at the club.  The meeting went as planned, however rain dampened our pursuits for golf in the afternoon.  This was the second time since September that the monthly meeting at NCC has not gone as planned.  A scheduling conflict prevented the club from hosting an event in September, and this time around the rain forced us to cancel the event.  The club will look into the possibility of hosting an event again in the future.  An article about the host site for the meeting is included in each issue of the magazine.

For the April issue, an article about the club's history was printed.

Read the article here.

In the May issue, we were asked to write a brief article about how we use our blog, and what we like about it.  This will likely be the first of a few Chicagoland blogs featured in the magazine.  The editors included examples of previous blog posts as well.

Read the article here.
Much of the work over the past 2 weeks has been organized to prepare for this week's member-guest Invitational.  Aside from performing our regular mowings each day of the tournament, we work to complete several tasks before the event.  All of these tasks are performed on a regular interval, but we strive to have them all completed the same time before this event to have the course looking as best as we can.  Some of these tasks include trimming, pulling weeds, pruning bushes and fertilizing.

We have a few more little jobs to finish before the first groups tee off for the practice round on Thursday, but the majority of our attention will be put to completing the mowings on all areas of the course.  Greg, our mechanic, has worked to sharpen and set the heights on the mowers to provide the best cut, and the warm weather has allowed us to provide some of the best conditions that we have had so far this year.  Unfortunately, the weather is still calling for storms on Thursday.  Let's hope the rain can hold off.
It's June: Another Holiday Flood?, Melting-out of KBG, Waitea Wows, Dollar Spot Progresses, Peter Likes Tall Fescue, and Tim says W. circinata var. circinata 

Chicago/Northern Illinois Update: Derek Settle - DSettle@cdga.org

Summer? This growing season now quickly feels like summer - though officially it's still spring. When you watch experienced superintendents and plantsmen, you begin to understand why their planning and preparation is so essential. Once the season begins, it moves quickly. It reminds me of a big locomotive with energy and motion that cannot slow or stop quickly. Our season of rapid growth has begun. First, Kentucky bluegrass began to thicken roughs to golfer delight. Second, our biggest issue of this spring goes away - red-purple bentgrass is now green. Then, our usual problems associated with warmer temperatures are back - Waitea, dollar spot, and melting-out of Poa. Up next, the scattered and sometimes volatile thunderstorms of summer mean you might just flood. Finally, we watch our average soil temperatures cross 70° F at 2 inches and this means optimal root growth for cool-season turf is soon to be, if not already, over. 

For the experienced who live a life tending golf courses it's just another season - the rhythm of which begins early each morning and ends by the afternoon (when all goes as planned). So far, it has been good health-wise for turf (we've experienced few pest issues during winter and spring). Now, we need some good old-fashioned dry weather (not too dry) so rounds and rounds of golf can be played. I think we've turned the corner and it's about to happen. I can feel it. Can you? 

Click here to view the June 3, 2011 Scouting Report. 

Enjoy the weekend...it feels like summer. 

Derek Settle, PhD 
Director of Turfgrass Program 
Weather Blog 

Timothy A. Sibicky, MS 
Manager of Turfgrass Research 
Research Blog
I have gotten several questions from people who have seen me using this tool, and I am sure there are many others who were wondering but never asked.  This is a soil moisture meter that measures the moisture content as a percent by volume of the soil.  We have used this religiously over the past few years to better manage our irrigation applications with the hope of providing the most consistent conditions possible.

The two probes are inserted into the soil to get a reading.  The meter works by using TDR (Time Domain Reflectometry) to measure the time it takes for electrical current to travel between the two probes.  Because water is a good conductor of electricity, the amount of moisture in the soil can be measured.

The display on the meter shows a summary of the readings that have been taken.

VMWC%=13.4 - is the reading that was taken at a specific point

N004 - tells how many readings have been taken (4 readings).

A=13.8 - is the average of the 4 readings that have been taken.

The readings are logged into the meter and then downloaded and saved into an Excel spreadsheet where we can monitor which areas are wet or dry.  The Excel spreadsheet will also display a graph of the readings for the day.

This has become a very important tool in our tool box.  There is a large amount of information we have been able to collect from the data we have gathered.  We are feel certain we will only get better at providing more consistent playing surfaces as we continue to use this tool.
Our summer annual planting beds have all had their flowers planted for the summer.  This is a process that take several days to complete.  There are many annual beds around the clubhouse, two at the entrance, and a few more at the halfway house.  We will be spending our time concentrating on keeping them watered over the next or two until they are well established.  During the summer months, we do make a fertilizer application to them weekly with our sprayer.
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