Divots, unfortunately, are an unavoidable result of members and their guests enjoying the Club.  Divots will be present at all times, and repairing those divots is a constant effort of the membership, the staff and ..... the golf course!  Yes, the golf course plays the most important role in the recovery of divots.  Once a divot is taken we ask members to replace the divot if it is still in tact.  The Grounds staff then fills any divots that are not able to be replaced.  Once the divot has been replace or filled, the area has been prepped for a full recovery.  It is up the the course at that point to heal the grass.  This picture, and these 4 divots, were take on October 3, 2013.

Immediately after these divots were take, they were repaired using 3 different methods.  One was left unrepaired.  I will refer to the divots from left to right as 1-4.  Far left is 1, far right is 4.
-Divot 1 is repaired with soil only.
-Divot 2 is not repaired.
-Divot 3 is replaced.
-Divot 4 is repaired with seed and soil.
Some notes after they have been repaired.  The replaced divot (3) is barely noticeable.  Divots 1 and 4, though they have been repaired still look like divots.  This is why we ask golfers to always replace their divot if possible.  It will heal quicker, and looks better after it has been replaced.  Now that all (except 2) have been repaired, we have to rely on the course to heal itself.

Here is a follow up picture of these divots taken today.  7 months after they were repaired!  Though divots 1 and 4 have been repaired, they are still visible, because the last piece of the puzzle - the course healing itself - has not had an opportunity to happen.  Any divots that were on the course at the beginning of October or have been taken since the beginning of October have not had the opportunity for the course to heal them.  The weather has been too cold.  Unfortunately, the best time for divots to heal is also the best time for golf on the course.  This is why there will always be divots on the course to heal.

We will be adding divot bottles in the fairways starting this weekend for members to fill divots if they are not able to replace it.  Now that the warmer temperatures are beginning to arrive, and the course will be able to do its part in the recovery process, all three sources of recovery will be in place for the golf season.

Hurry up and wait is about the only way to describe the current situation for many courses. Frustration has set in with the climate as the cold, wet, cloudy weather is good for nothing except spending time worrying about it at the bar. Many superintendents who responded to the recent survey sent out by CDGA and MAGCS indicated the most consistent reason as to why they did not have damage was purely down to the fact that they have a strong creeping bentgrass stand on their putting surfaces. I think they might even feel a little bit guilty - if not, they certainly are extremely grateful!

Germination has been slow and while covers will help to warm soils they do very little as far as making an immediate putting surface. Moisture has arrived in a somewhat more consistent manner although there were instances of heavy hail occurring this week in the western suburbs of Chicago. Staying the course and remembering it is somewhat out of your control in regards to climate will help to reign in the frustration somewhat. Take solace in knowing that many people are in the same situation, trying to get back to optimal conditions as soon as reasonably possible and that once soil temperatures get to >55°F consistently we will all feel some relief.

Many superintendents understand now what they have and I think the fear of loss has now been overcome with determination to beat the damage with the hope that there is some form of spring prior to the return of summer - roots have begun to make an appearance downward but it doesn't seem like they are sprinting as of yet. Courses have aerified and some are looking close to recovered while others just need some heat. Time is all that is required - which unfortunately is not there in abundance. If the forecast holds for next week with temperatures possibly reaching the 70's and if we are lucky a warm rain then help can be considered to be on the way!

Click here to view the May 2, 2014 Scouting Report

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch
The major capital project of the off season has been the addition of the cart path on hole 9.  The gravel base has been in and we have been waiting on the availability of asphalt to take the next step.  Well this week may be it.  The contractor will be out tomorrow to do a finish grade and rolling to prep the surface for asphalt.  Our hope is that asphalt will follow on Thursday.

This corner of cart path on hole 13 will be receiving a touch up with the installation of asphalt at the same time.  This area of red gravel is prone to washouts during heavy rains.  Capping this short area, up to the front tee on 13, will make it easier to manage.  A curb is planned for this area as well to manage traffic onto the fairway.  Naturally, new sod will be installed to make a fresh edge.
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