We were spared by the weather patterns last night.  We received no new rain and very little wind.  The excess moisture that has persisted for several days is beginning to recede into the soil, and firmer playing surfaces are beginning to present themselves once again.  A good chance of rain exists tomorrow night, but then dry weather is in the forecast until next week.

The staff has done an excellent job of keeping the bunkers in good shape through all of the rain.  Our next task will be to get caught up on rough, which we should be able to do later today and tomorrow.

Our other tasks this week will be prepping for the Fireworks Extravaganza on Sunday. Hopefully the current weather forecast holds for those events this weekend.

By Bob Vavrek, agronomist, Central Region

The entire hillside was seeded to fine fescue. Notice the wispy, sparse turf in the dry soil that surrounds dense, weedy grasses in a wet spot caused by a single drain tile that exits an adjacent housing development.

Many areas of the Central Region have been inundated with heavy rainfall during the past few weeks. The acute effects of severe flooding with respect to fatalities and property damage are usually well documented in the nightly news. The immediate impact of flooding that occurs on a golf course is obvious because erosion and silt deposits are seen just as soon as the water recedes. However, some of the side-effects of heavy rainfall that caused the floods are not so obvious.

A popular practice at an increasing number of golf facilities is to convert a portion of the maintained rough to tall grass areas. These low input naturalized areas still require annual maintenance, but the ultimate cost of managing a tall grass area will be less than the cost of maintaining a rough that is mowed at least once a week, fertilized, and treated for weeds and insect pests.
Your average golfer prefers a thin, wispy stand of turf in a natural area as well as an opportunity to find an errant shot and, depending on the lie, the opportunity to advance the ball towards the hole. Golfers have been grousing a bit more than usual about dense, unplayable tall grass lately on Course Consulting Service visits, and the weather is mostly to blame for their angst.

The fact is that once the turf is well established, most tall grass areas perform best when they are kept as dry as possible. Fine fescue natural areas are particularly susceptible to the encroachment of coarse, weedy grasses and broadleaf weeds under wet soil conditions. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to keep the recent heavy rainfall out of the tall grass.

On the other hand, an extra effort can be made to keep irrigation off the tall grass areas. Full-circle sprinklers that extend coverage into the natural areas can be switched to part-circle sprinklers, and you may find sprinklers deep in the roughs that can be eliminated. This often occurs in highly visible areas of the course where sprinklers that water tees are located between the tees and nearby tall grass areas. Tees are typically watered frequently throughout the season to accelerate divot recovery, so the tall grass areas near tees are often lush and weedy. Take the time to assess and adjust irrigation coverage during spring and you will reap the double benefit of water savings and the tall grass areas golfers crave.

Source: Bob Vavrek (rvavrek@usga.org)
1.8" in each of the last 2 days has transitioned our focus from maintenance to clean up.  Our 4 day total has reached 4.22" of rain since Friday morning.  It will take a few days to dry down the course to allow us to fine tune our maintenance practices again.  It looks like we could have a couple of days with no rain, but it is back in the forecast for this weekend.  We will start the day with NO CARTS, and will re-evaluate at noon to see if there is a possibility for carts in the afternoon.

This bunker represents a typical clean effort after a heavy rain.  Any debris or soil that get washed into the bottom of the bunker from the heavy rain is removed, the the sand is pushed back up to the edges.  Our bunkers drain very well, so significant washouts are typically not a problem, but this little bit of clean up still requires a good effort from the crew.

Other than the storm cleanup and some lingering standing water, it has started out to be a nice day.
A week that promised quite a lot became a week that rapidly fell apart and put rootzones into an awkward situation. The high temperatures created problems for turf and this combined with reported deluges of over 1" in under 30 minutes particularly on the southern side of the city that resulted in some very stressed turfgrass. The heavy damage to bunkers and undermining of cart paths will require some time for repair and of course some expense incurred. These intense storms while building up the monthly rainfall total do absolutely nothing but wreak havoc for turf managers as far as clean-up is concerned. Further to that the excess moisture and hot weather will have driven up the chances for patch disease and root problems developing. The saving grace is two-fold - night time temperatures stayed below the 70°F mark and there is a cool down forecast coming - which hopefully will also bring some drying out of the soil profile.

Regional research meetings took place this week and many of you will be glad or sad to know that the problems with seed head control were not just localized - some sentiment was that the timing seemed to be too early. Damage from winter in the Midwest was not considered anywhere in the realm of last year. Conditions in Iowa were equally extreme early in the week and in certain ways the Chicago area may have been lucky based on some of the rainfall other locations have seen this year to date e.g. Kansas City saw >16" of rain for May - monthly normal is 4". Growth potential models are a collaborative project which will receive attention amongst the group going forward. Finally, for those of you that have forgotten - rounds for research is still ongoing. The money raised really makes a difference going forward and if you want to investigate or bid on the donated rounds please take a look here: http://www.rounds4research.com/

Click here to view the June 12, 2015 Scouting Report

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

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch
The flowers are displaying the unfortunate consequence of dealing with a variety of weather conditions.  The hail from Monday night has left the flowers tattered and torn, but they will survive.

We are will be planting the flowers around our flag pole today.  However, the first step is to remedy a soil problem that has developed through the years.  Every winter when snow is removed, the circle drive receives a large pile of snow.  Usually, the snow has salt mixed in with it from the previous time the circle drive was salted.  Over time, this has resulted in excessive amounts of salts in the soil, which has led to a decline in the flowers through the season.  This year we are starting by removing the soil that is in the circle drive and replacing it with fresh soil.  After some warm weather and rain, which are both in the forecast, the flowers should get a good jump start for the year.
We were fortunate to miss the bulk of the storms on Sunday, but did get a quick shot of rain, wind and hail yesterday afternoon.  This picture from yesterday afternoon shows the sun shining with the storms moving through.  0.46 inches of rain yesterday afternoon and 0.67 through the day on Sunday was a nice set of rains to replenish the soil.  We were ready for some rain, as things were beginning to get a bit dry.

 The hail we received with the storm yesterday was impressive.  It looked like a covering of snow for a few moments before the hail melted.

The hail was about marble size or a little larger.

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