A Warm Weekend Ahead

August 23, 2012

Great View of the 2nd hole

Before I write about course conditions etc… please accept my apologies for the lack of new posts (updates) recently.  Needless to say, it’s been a pretty brutal summer weather wise.

The combination of heat/drought has made the past couple months very challenging with regard to maintaining a golf course…I’ll try to do a much better job keeping you updated now that the cooler days of late summer are in sight.

Don’t get me wrong, the last thing I want to do is come off as a weather winer…especially considering I’m only managing an area of land that’s used for leisure activity.  Farmers who have lost complete crops, landowners whose homes have been destroyed by wildfires, and firefighters trying to contain those wildfires…now those are the people who deserve pity for what they’ve gone through this summer.

Ok, now a little more about what’s happening at Hilldale GC.  I’m very pleased with the condition of the greens. All putting surfaces have come through the summer in good shape. In fact, now that we only need worry about brief hot periods (like this weekend); not week upon week of severe heat, we (Hilldale’s grounds dept.) can get on with the fun business of prepping the golf course  aggressively.  I’m referring to things like: double cutting and double rolling greens, lower mowing heights on greens, tees, and fairways, and other practices we have to be very careful with or simply not do during extreme hot periods.  FYI, greens now are cut daily with double-cutting used on weekends. They are rolled several times per week with the occasional double-roll employed when an extra .5 or 1 ft. is needed on the stimpmeter.  We’re back to mowing tees and fairways 3-4 times per week after mowing only 1-2 times per week from 6/15 thru 8/1.  There are thin areas on several tees and fairways that will need overseeding in the coming weeks (we hope to start next week).

Overall, I’ve been pleased with conditions on all the fine turf areas…considering the summer weather.  Obviously, the rough at Hilldale is very weak/thin heading into autumn.  The combination of heat/drought/cart traffic has been very hard on the Kentucky bluegrass rough. KBG is a great turfgrass (as many of you know from home lawncare), so I definitely expect our rough to come back strong with the aid of fertilizer, fall rains (I hope), and again, cooler  temps. Our irrigation system only covers small areas of rough therefore most of it went dormant many weeks ago.  Speaking of irrigation water..at Hilldale our water supply comes from a well on the property.  The well water is pumped into the small lake on hole #10 and subsequently pumped into the irrigation system throughout the golf course’s greens, tees, and fairways.  Every attempt is made to conserve our natural resources so even during severe droughts like this we try to limit irrigation cycles to 2 nights per week.

Thank you for helping make this a successful summer at Hilldale, I hope to see you out on the course this fall. Sorry again for the low number of course condition updates lately… I’ll definitely do better going forward.  Sincerely, B.W.

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Just When You Think…..

August 21, 2011

18th fairway at noon on 08/20/2011

 

It’s safe to go out and play golf….we get another 2″ (just shy) of rain in barely one hour’s time!  Hilldale is open for play, and although there was originally more rain in the forecast for Sat. evening, the updated (5:30 p.m.) future radar looks like Hoffman Estates should be rain free  through the night.  And of course tomorrow looks to be a glorious day (79 deg., sunny, and less humid.  Carts must stay on cartpaths at all times and it’s hard to foresee that changing until Monday (8/22).  We did have a chance to dry out some this week after receiving .5″ of rain last Sat. evening (8/13), so at least the ground wasn’t overly saturated prior to today’s moisture. 

18th fairway at 4:30 p.m.-8/20/2011

Again, the bunkers took a major beating from the heavy rainfall. So for what seems like the upteenth time this summer, the major focus for the grounds department will be dealing with washed out bunkers.  Carlos was a huge help this afternoon as all water has been removed from the front nine bunkers, and  tomorrow we’ll deal with water in the back nine traps.  As many of you know and have graciously commented on, I’ve been extremely pleased with the condition of Hilldale’s greens this summer.  Considering the amount of heat, humidity, and rainfall the past six weeks…it’s hard to imagine the putting surfaces coming through the stress season in any better shape.   With cooler nights and hopefully drier weather ahead, I see no reason why greens conditioning practices can’t be very aggressive well into the fall months.  Stimpmeter readings were consistently above 11 ft. this morning (prior to the rain of course) after double cutting and rolling.  It’s hard to say if the greens will firm up enough overnight to employ the same practices tomorrow, but that is the hope right now.  Thanks for coming out to Hilldale.

Hilldale's 18th hole-5 hours after a 2" downpour