Saturday, March 22, 2014


The sun is getting higher in the sky and the days are growing longer. The winter of 2014 is slowly giving way to spring.

In the shaded areas there is still a foot or so of snow.

It is amazing how much shade is cast by trees even when they are leafless.

The Poa annua patches on the golf course are very visible this time of year. Most of our Poa patches are on the edges of the greens where the mowers pivot. These areas will receive extra aerification and bentgrass seed. 

The third green is situated in a wind lane with southern exposure. This green has been clear of snow for almost three weeks now - the wind and exposure really took the color out of it but it will start greening up with warmer temperatures.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Mowing Program

This year we have developed walking lanes from tee to fairway. The early morning players are able to follow these lanes and keep their feet dry from early morning dew.

The walking lanes are aimed towards the best angle of ball flight from the tee. They are not always in the exact center of the hole corridor but more or less along the best lines for aiming the tee shots. 

The fairway cut follows the same line as the walking lane. This provides a nice visual from the tee that directs the golfer's eye to the ideal line of ball flight.

We are also mowing the rough the same direction as the fairway. Note the rough on the left side of the fairway center is mowed green to tee, same as the fairway cut. The intermediate cut however is mowed in the opposite direction. This provides a really nice contrast and outline of the hole. I feel that the ground contours are more visible with these cuts than they are with the checkerboard fairway and striped rough patterns.

In areas where the intermediate cut is widened to help the high handicap players run the ball in, the reverse direction of cut is pushed to the perimeter. This gives the golf hole the illusion of being wider than it actually is. 

The intermediate cut is widened around areas where the high handicap golfer may miss. With this mowing pattern a golfer may miss long. The intermediate cut can be used in this way to maintain a healthy 2.5 inch rough, while providing an easier playing surface in the areas where the high handicap players struggle. 

On this hole we pushed the intermediate out on the left side of the green so the golfer can miss left. From 1.25" the shot is much easier than 2.5 inches. Just trying to make the game more fun for everyone!

We are gradually bringing the intermediate down to 1" and greening it up a bit to provide tighter lies.

Bunker edging is nearly complete. On some bunkers we have cut back over a foot of turf to get back to the original edges.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dom Grotti Tournament

On June 19 Bernardo and I entered the Dom Grotti Tournament for superintendents and their assistants at Blackstone Golf Club. We came in second place and Bernardo won the closest to the hole proxy.

I guess I should mention that only three teams signed up, but we won't let that detract from the day.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Observed Soil Moisture Data

Observed soil moisture data are collected at 19 sites in Illinois by the Illinois State Water Survey’s Water and Atmospheric Monitoring program. The soil moisture is measured at 5 cm (2 inches), 10 cm (4 inches), 20 cm (8 inches), and 50 cm (20 inches). All amounts are reported as the fraction of water by volume of the soil. For example, a value of 0.35 means that 35% of the soil is occupied by water.
Silty clay loam soils, common in Illinois, are considered saturated at values of 0.45 to 0.50. Field capacity is in the neighborhood of 0.35. Values below about 0.20 would be at the permanent wilting point. As the name implies, that is the level where plants wilt and do not recover. Plant roots are unable to recover any water below this level because it is tightly bound to the soil particles.
See link to most recent soil moisture data:

Sunday, June 24, 2012


It is offical: we are in a drought. The rainfall total map, below, shows that much of northern Illinois has received only 2-4 inches of rain in the last 60 days.

Northern Illinois

                                                                                                                                                             Here in Gurnee we are at 2 inches for the last 60 days.


8-14 Day Outlook for Rain

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Water Shortage

The dry weather has been great for golf rounds but we are running out of water in our irrigation reservoir. This week we began transferring water from ponds on the golf course through the irrigation system backwards to the reservoir. Eventually we may need to buy water from the village, but if we can hold out, until the rain replenishes our supply, the water savings will be applied to better use.

trash pump #1 connected to pond feed
trash pump #2 to pond feed
getting dry but hanging in there
starting to aerify fairways and hand water to conserve water