Nice outlook for the Dog Days

August 4, 2015

June 28, 2015 007 The cool temperatures of the 2015 golf season have been downright perfect (of course that is the opinion of a golf course superintendent). Now, if we’re talking about precipitation, it’s a whole other matter…I don’t need to remind everyone that we’re in the midst of one of the wettest years ever in the Chicago area. Up until this past week we’ve used the automatic irrigation system a total of 1 time. But lately, as temperatures have warmed and dry conditions now are common, the water system is running almost every night. As August gets under way, mowing frequency of the high play areas has slowed substantially. In June, the primary rough (areas bordering fairways) was being mowed several times per week…now it’s once if at all. So, in what was becoming known as “the year of cart path only”, we’ve at least been able to allow golfers to drive on the grass lately.

2015 flowers 003 2015 flowers 004It has been a weird year regarding our annual flower beds…the flowers that like a lot of moisture obviously look good. On the other hand, those that don’t such as petunias, leave a lot to be desired. Forgive me please if I don’t show our Easy wave petunia bed. As many of the regulars know, Rosa Castro (Hilldale’s excellent gardener of  many years) retired following the end of the 2014 season. Well, even with a group effort this year, we still miss Rosa’s great landscaping touch. “Hope you’re enjoying retirement Rosa…we miss you”.

18 green on 8-4-15 001 Several golfers have mentioned that the greens are very firm lately. I talked about the lack of rainfall earlier in this post, but I will say that “firm” is definitely preferable to “soft” where high quality greens (smooth ball roll, good plant health etc…) are concerned.  As temperatures cool and turfgrass disease pressure eases, we’ll be a little more judicious with the amount of irrigation water applied. I hope everyone enjoys their time at Hilldale and thanks for visiting us!





Rain, Rain, go away

June 24, 2015

June 16, 2015 download 033June 16, 2015 download 031  The first picture was taken on 6/13/15 and shows the 18th fairway at Hilldale. This was after 3.5″ of rain had fallen during the previous three days. The second picture was taken this morning (6/24/15). I’m very pleased with course conditions considering the high rain totals (6.5″) so far in June. Accuweather is forecasting more rain this evening, but we’re hoping this system stays south of Hilldale GC. Carts are allowed to use the 90 degree rule which is our standard policy. Obviously this could change in a hurry with additional rain tonight…we’ll keep you updated as conditions change.

Hilldale’s greens are due for a “light” topdressing of sand which we like to apply prior to rain. This will move sand down into the turf canopy; thus causing no inconvenience to golfers. The smooth surface it creates along with turfgrass health benefits are the primary goals when applying sand to greens.

The Hilldale Men’s Club has their annual Guest day this weekend and it appears that we’re in store for good (dry) weather…knock on wood! Good luck to everyone and I hope you enjoy the golf course.

The Spring melt is in high gear!

March 11, 2015

March 11, 2015 warmup    This picture of the 10th hole at Hilldale was taken on 3/10/15.  With several more days of warm weather (Sunshine!) this picture should look much different by the weekend.  For those golfers wondering about opening the golf course…my best guess at this time is hopefully toward the end of next week. I’ll be very pleased if conditions are dry enough (greens) to open by 3/19 or 20th. I’ll keep you informed with updated progress pictures such as the one above and chime in with twitter posts (upper right side of this page) as we get closer to a total snow melt . Thanks for checking in.

Bryan Widmer, Supt.


Great Day To Play

November 23, 2014

November 23  2014 pics 010  Yes, Hilldale GC is open for play today…if you’d have told me this was possible on Tuesday (11/18/14) I’d have thought you’re delirious. All kidding aside, when it was a minus 0 deg. wind chill on Tuesday morning I was starting to think we might be done playing golf for the year. It’s a balmy 52 degrees out there today so come on out? Actually, the forecast has been showing nice temps for today as early as Wednesday, but with heavy rain also forecast I didn’t think we’d be able to open the course. Right now, it’s not supposed to start raining until maybe 5 p.m. so anyone out on the course during daylight hours should have no problem finishing.

The rest of this week looks very cold, but there are warm temps back in the forecast for the following week (12/1/14). Check back here or keep an eye on my twitter feed (@bryanwidcgcs) for updates. Thanks for coming out and hopefully we’ll see you in the near future!

Nice weather on the way

October 16, 2014

Fall pics of 2 fwy and 4 green 0022.5″ of rain fell on Hilldale the past three days…thankfully it’s over. Sounds like the sun will be out this afternoon and from there the weekend looks great! We’ll have to keep golf carts on paths through tomorrow (10/17), and then hopefully be ok to exit paths on Sat./Sun. “Our staff is putting things back together” after so much rain, but everything is going well with regard to bunker washouts being resolved and catching up with leaf cleanup. The greens are rolling very well and with an assist from the sun and wind (drying conditions); green surrounds, tees, and fwys should also be in good playing condition by the weekend. Thanks to all for coming out…see you on the course.

A soggy morning; but course is open

October 14, 2014

We received approximately 1″ of rain yesterday afternoon and evening…and it sounds like more could be on the way. We’ll open the course this morning with carts restricted to paths only (thanks for your cooperation!). Due to the weather warmup (high of 70 deg. today) our grounds staff will be mowing all primary turf areas (greens, tees, fwys.) this morning. Some of the sand traps will have water in them so please bear with us until the rain is out of our area. The forecast is indicating that today will be the last day of measurable precipitation, so the plan as of now is to pump the water out of all bunkers tomorrow morning (10/15/14). I hope everyone has a great day out there and thanks for playing Hilldale.

Bryan Widmer, CGCS

Hilldale’s Master Gardener

August 1, 2014

Simply said, Rosa Castro (who has now worked at Hilldale GC for 36 years!) does a great job making sure Hilldale’s ornamentals always look fantastic. Thanks for your outstanding contribution to Hilldale, Rosa. I’ll miss you greatly when you retire!

Rosa's fine work around the Pro Shop.

Rosa’s fine work around the Pro Shop.