Father’s Day-2010

June 21, 2010

The severe storm that hit Chicagoland this past Friday took a hard toll on Hilldale’s grounds.  Rain totals ended up around 1.5″, but winds in excess of 70 mph were definitely the big news.  As usual, willow trees took the brunt of the damage because of their weak structure.  Anyone who played the golf course this weekend, I’m sure noticed the large willow tree on #5 that was blown over.  Unfortunately, the tree fell almost directly on a smaller willow tree that had been planted just five years ago.  The small tree is still standing, but suffered a lot of damage.  Willows are a very attractive tree and do well near water (the reasoning for 5th hole location), but are only attractive if a great deal of care and upkeep are performed.  The tree that fell was right at the dogleg on #5, so you could definitely say it was in an important location.  With a large portion of the fallen tree being in the lake, we’ll have our work cut out for us trying to remove it without damaging the fairway (turf) in the process.  I hope to complete this removal in the coming days, but with more rain in the forecast that will be iffy. 

Course conditions on Father’s Day were affected somewhat by timing of the storms, but overall I was pretty pleased with the amount of work completed in the two days following.  Some cleanup work remains on several holes including #5, but most of the remaining debris is smaller and in out-of-way locations.  As you might imagine, turf areas are growing at a considerable rate with all the rain and warmer weather we’re having.  Fairways were mowed five times this week with primary rough areas cut three times.  Obviously this rate of maintenance will continue with the current weather pattern.  Green speeds were right around 10 ft. the past two days, and though I would prefer another foot or so of speed on weekends, we had to limit the maintenance intensity due to the “soft” nature of the putting surface.  As it is, the grounds staff double-cut and double-rolled greens both days.  Bunker conditions are a little less than desirable right now.  We will continue bunker maintenance this week (sand addition, edging, weeding etc…), but please be patient as storm cleanup, mowing of primary areas, divot repair, and additional greens maintenance practices are performed.

In closing this week, just a note regarding noise (distractions) out on the course.  All members of the grounds maintenance staff are instructed constantly on the importance of golfer (customer) respect when performing their duties.  This is “peak” season for the amount and intensity of golf course maintenance practices, but at no time is it permissable to perform their duties in a way that is rude or bothersome to our customers.  Please notify the pro shop or myself should you have an issue with worker conduct.  Thanks for keeping abreast with the Hilldale grounds department happenings.  Another update will be coming soon.

Bryan Widmer, CGCS

June Course Update

June 7, 2010

As we head into the heart of the golf season, beginning this blog with a few words detailing recent weather events seemed appropriate.  Rain has been plentiful the last few weeks, but compared to our neighbors to the south and west we’ve been very fortunate. Memorial Day weekend and the past five days have produced roughly 1.25″ of rain in the Hoffman Estates area, where as many Chicagoland areas have seen 3-5 times this amount. Due to the fact that our area, and more specifically Hilldale Golf Club, has been at the heart of bad storms and severe flooding the past few years, I find it hard to apologize for our recent good fortune. The golf course is in good condition as we dive into the summer months, and obviously that is what we hope for each year as aggressive maintance practices now become the norm.

All annual flower beds were planted this past week, and I’ll take this time to thank Rosa Castro for her fine work managing this yearly project.  Rosa has been a key member of the Hilldale grounds department for better than thirty years now, not to mention an excellent staff leader and assistant.  Fernando Chavez (Head Mechanic), and Juan Maravillas (Crew Foreman), are also excellent employees who make my work look better and thus more gratifying.

The coming week will see the grounds department: begin tree/brush removal along  property lines on holes 3-11-12, edging bunkers, drainage improvement work, and ballmark/divot conditioning. The increase in play this time of year produces considerable scars left from ballmarks and divots (especially on par three holes).  The staff will begin the routine of adding a sand/seed mix to ballmarks this week. Of course divot repair started long ago and goes without saying, but good results can also be had from adding such a mix to ballmarks on greens. To that end, I’ll wrap this up by preaching the importance of good course etiquette by all golfers. Please help us keep Hilldale in good condition by fixing ballmarks, raking sandtraps, and filling divots during your round of golf. 

We hope you enjoy your day and golfing experience at Hilldale Golf Club and thank you for your patronage.  Until next time…

Bryan Widmer, CGCS