Friday, April 6, 2012

Back to reality, unfortunately

Well, we all knew that the weather we had in March, even near the lake, was too good to be true. This morning (Apr 6) was our first significant frost event of 2012 and it looks like we have the opportunity for a few more in the next 7-10 days. We had been on regular mowing schedules but it appears that may be changing soon as well.

The good news is that the sun is shining and there is only a gently breeze right now. The bad news is that it seems like this month is going to continue along this same pattern of sub average temperatures. Look for the grounds crew to continue clearing the out of play areas like behind the pool, along 10, 4, and back to 5 and 15 to improve upon the work we did last season.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A little update, and a little humor

While deciding to leave the covers on for another day due to excessive wind I was anxious to take a look and what was happening under the cover. First of all the good news, from what I could see, all is well under there. Now for the funny image taken by a sales rep who was going to help out with the covers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How the winter is treating us thus far

I thought I'd take a minute to quickly let anyone who is interested know how the course is fairing so far this winter. With the lack of snow and extreme cold through most of the winter to this point, the grass has had plenty of opportunity to take in the sunlight and that is a good thing, great when considering it is usually covered in snow for the past 8 weeks.

With recent snow, rain, freeze, thaw cycles we have gotten some ice build-up in the valleys of the greens. On Monday (Jan 23) Nate and I spent most of the day pushing water and snow through the low portions of the greens and opening up the fronts for drainage from the melting ice and snow. With sunlight today and temperatures above freezing predicted for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the remaining ice should melt off nicely and roll off the greens or be absorbed into the soil depending on the thaw.

Pictures always speak louder than words so here are a few shots from around the course yesterday.

This is a picture of #3 green. You will also notice all of the footprints that are solid ice, we have put ropes around this green to prevent this exact problem. If you come out to walk the course or go sledding please stay off of the green.

#14 green

Just a few shots, I have a feeling that things will look greatly different later in the week.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

US Amateur

I realize that I have been absent from this blog for most of the season but I thought this was worth mentioning. Yesterday after work my Assistant Nate and I went up to Blue Mound Golf and Country Club to watch the second round of stroke play for the US Amateur (two days of stroke play are used as a qualifier for the match play that will ultimately determine the winner). The stroke play was split between Erin Hills (the title host of the tournament) and Blue Mound Golf and CC in Wauwatosa, WI.

Since I am a bit of a golf architecture geek, the opportunity to see a Seth Raynor designed course was an easy decision to drive an hour, and it didn't disappoint. I wish I could post pictures but all I had with me was my camera phone and with overcast conditions that camera didn't do justice to any of the pictures I took. After seeing that golf course my constant reaction to the golf course and greens complexes especially was WOW! Incredible movement across the putting surfaces, awesome bunkering, just amazing to see a great course that has been restored and maintained to near original design. This trip was a treat indeed.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Cultural Practices!

Days like today are without a doubt some of my favorite days of the year. I was already smiling at 5:30 this morning when I saw a clear sky awaited us for the day, but there was more good news to come... this was a day of some of my favorite cultural practices on our greens.
We started the morning by brushing the greens to stand up the longer grass that is laying down below the reels on the mower. Right after they were brushed we mowed with our regular walk behind greens mowers to cut off all the grass that is now standing upright, this usually results in removing at least twice as much than if we had not brushed them. This is evident in the picture at the left where you can see the right half has yet to be mowed and the left side is much lighter in color after removing a LOT of extra growth. This is a practice that we will continue to use through the season to maintain smooth greens free of too much lateral growth.

The next step in the process was to verticut (vertical mow) the greens, this again is to remove excess lateral growth. This is a process that has been used here at Kenosha CC for many years, however, this year over the winter we purchased new blades which make the practice much more effective. Last year with the old blades we were simply cutting a line in the green but not effectively removing any material, this year we needed a cart to follow the machine to continually empty the clippings from the baskets. After the verticut mower went across the green we mowed it again with a riding greens mower to remove any standing debris and blew the rest of the remaining clippings into the rough.

At this point we are about half way done with the process... next was to topdress liberally with sand. There are a few reasons for this, one is to smooth the surface from both the verticutters as well as any ball marks or other imperfections. After we spread the sand we drag it in with a brush pulled by a utility cart. Finally we spread fertilizer to encourage new growth and an overall healthy plant and water the greens for 10 minutes to help the sand settle as well as wash the fertilizer into the turf canopy for uptake by the roots.

It was a long and busy day but in the end very successful. Great day to be a Golf Course Superintendent!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How about this weather!?!?

I know by now that I shouldn't be surprised by the weather patterns that we experience here in the Upper Midwest but low and behold it happened on Monday, April 18. Below is the photo proof.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Farmlinks Experience

At the end of March I was offered the opportunity to attend an educational opportunity called The Farmlinks Experience ( It is hosted at a property owned and operated by the Pursell family and is located in Sylacauga, Alabama. This property is a functioning golf course open to limited public play but more importantly is used as a research and education facility for Golf Course Superintendents from across the country and around the world.

Our trip began on Wednesday March 23 and we arrived on property at about noon. We were taken to our humble cabin seen in the photo below situated behind the 17th green.

Wednesday we had class for about 3 hours before having some leisure time to enjoy fishing or golfing.

Thursday was a full morning of education including both classroom time as well as a course tour with Agronomist Mark Langner who told us all about how the property was build as well as the how's and why's they use certain products. After education on Thursday we were given time to play golf and experience a course that is fantastically designed into the existing landscape by the firm of Hurdzan and Fry.

This is really an amazing experience and I was fortunate to be invited. It's a great opportunity to spend some time with other superintendents, asking them their thoughts and ideas and how's/why's of their programs. We had time to relax and recharge but also spent upwards of 10 hours in the classroom over 3 days as well as an on the course tour. Lots of good education, meet and reunite with colleagues from around Chicago and come back with new ideas.