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.


Hilldale GC will open tomorrow-Friday 2/17

February 16, 2012
I was very skeptical earlier this morning as several greens still had snow and surface water present.  However, a good breeze and abundant sunshine warmed things up this afternoon and did a fairly good job of drying off the putting surfaces…so we’ll see you on the course tomorrow.  Carts will be restricted to paths as we’re getting close enough to the start of another season (3-4 weeks?) that it’s imperative to keep heavy traffic off of primary turf areas.  Thanks for your cooperation and business.
 

 

Fabulous Weather..frost delays..aerification update

October 23, 2011

The 2nd Hole on Sunday morning at Hilldale GC

We’re in the midst of a wonderful five day weather pattern.  It started on Friday-10/21 (albeit a rather windy Friday), and looks like it will continue right through Tuesday-10/25.  Actually, the next ten days look good from a moisture perspective…weather.com and accuweather are only predicting maybe .2″ of rain (30% chance of rain-Tues. evening, and 20% chance-Wed. a.m.) total through next Sunday-10/30. You know, since we’re on the topic of weather I’d like to pass on a little information regarding frost delays…especially considering we had approximately one hour delays on both Friday and Saturday morning. 

Frost blankets the 10th hole on Saturday morning (10/22/11)

Bear with me please as I share some points from Charles White (Regional Director-USGA Green Section)…”Everyone knows frost must clear off the grass before play can begin, but few people know why.  Frost on the grass blades tells us that the water inside the leaves is frozen.  Remember that water is the primary component of plant tissue.  When the water is frozen, traffic on the turf causes the ice crystals in the cells to puncture through the cell walls, killing the plant tissue.  Little damage is done to the crowns (growing points) or roots if only a light frost appears; however, when the frost is heavy, cell disruption may occur at the crown, thus killing the entire plant. Frost damage symptoms include white to light tan leaves where traffic has passed”. Couldn’t have said it better myself (insert a sarcastic cough).  No need to harp any further about frost delays..we appreciate your cooperation on those mornings when play is not allowed until frost has cleared…and obviously that includes the practice tee and practice green areas. 

Aerification to the back half of #1 Green at Hilldale

Greens aerification has been completed on one half of each green (excluding #15 and #16 which will be done early tomorrow morning).  Several members of the men’s club passed along very favorable comments this morning regarding the”half” greens aerification method (I appreciate the comments, it’s something I picked up earlier in my career at another golf course…and was a method of aerification that Hilldale’s General Manager-Bill Salzman was eager to institute here).  We will also be aerifying several tees/fairways at Hilldale this coming week, but as you know…every effort will be made to complete the clean-up work prior to play.  Each day’s agenda will be listed at the proshop first thing in the morning.  Hope everyone enjoys the great weather…thanks for coming out.   

 
 
 
 

State qualifying tournament at Hilldale and aerification update

October 11, 2011

9th Green-IL Class 3A Golf Sectional

 What a privilege it was to host the Palatine (Fremd) High School Golf Sectional yesterday.  The weather was fantastic (as it has been for nine straight days) and we had the pleasure of preparing the golf course for a lot of excellent young golfers.  Your’s truly played high school golf…way back in the day, but unfortunately I couldn’t hit a golf ball as far and straight as what I witnessed yesterday.  

 
 
 
 

Victor aerifying the 12th fairway

 
Greens aerification (The first half of each green) has been rescheduled for Monday, Oct.17.  As you can see in the picture to the left, fairway/tee aerification has already begun…the proshop will be updated every morning on aerification plans, so please feel free to call ahead (847-310-1100 ex.27) if you’d like to know the agenda prior to coming out.  Thanks for your patronage…see you on the course.     
  

 


9/23/11: #10 lakewall repair and updated aerification plans

September 23, 2011

                        

 

 

As you can see above…good progress has been made this week in restoring the lakewall on holes 10 and 18.  The first picture was taken on Monday (9/19), followed by the next two pictures which were taken late in the day on Thursday (9/22).   The area of wall closest to #10 fairway was in the worst condition and is now mostly complete; with only light touch-up work (final soil grading and grassing) remaining.  The part of wall on the other side (#18) had far less repair work needed and should be completed in the coming week.

The starting date for greens aerification has been changed to Tuesday (10/11).  Obviously when I say starting date, I’m referring to aerifying the first half of each green (explained in the previous blog post).  Thanks.  

 


Fall happenings at Hilldale

September 11, 2011
7th hole being prepped on Sunday morning

Autumn is such a magical time to be around a golf course.  Other than a few cottonwoods, most trees have yet to change colors and drop leaves nor has the first frost of the season come our way.  The cruel summer heat is a thing of the past and we’re still several months away (I hope!) from that first snowfall.  It really is a perfect time to play golf and we don’t even have to miss the football game…thanks to mobile TV. 

Ok, here’s what the grounds department is up to in early September and beyond.  Because many of our regular players and guests have been asking about greens aerification; we’re planning to start aerifying the first half of each green on Monday-September 26th. This will be the fourth year in a row we’ve used the “half green” practice, and because so many players have commented favorably..there is no need to discontinue now!  By only aerifying half of each green we’re able to keep the cup location on the good (smooth) half for 2-3 weeks (the approximate time it takes for aerification holes to heal), at which time we’ll turn around and aerify the second half of each green and thus locate the cup/pin position on the healed up half.  Again…because comments have been very favorable and because aerification is such a necessary evil to produce healthy turfgrass..well, you get the point.  Please bear with us through the process and we’ll do everything as quickly and thoroughly as possible with your satisfaction the driving influence.  We will aerify a few tees and fairways on the back nine in the coming days, so please feel free to contact the Pro Shop (847-310-1100 ex. 27) if you’d like to know that day’s agenda. During any tee/fairway aerification it will always be a priority to clean up as much area as possible prior to any golfers playing those holes. 
 
The only other significant work to comment on at this time involves the repair/replacement to several sections of the retaining wall surrounding the lake on holes 10 and 18.  We haven’t received a firm starting date from the contracting company, but will keep you informed when we do.  Thanks for coming out to Hilldale, and enjoy the nice fall weather. 

Shaping Up To Be A Great Weekend

August 25, 2011

All cart restrictions lifted; 80 degrees and sunny with a light breeze; quick greens and very receptive.  Hope you can all make it out to Hilldale.  Below is the maintenance schedule for Fri.-Sun.:

Greens-Double-cut and double-roll all three days.  Depending on stimpmeter readings, greens could also be mowed on Sat. evening.  Goal is to be at 11.5 ft. in the morning, which normally would indicate about a 10-10.5 ft. speed in early afternoon.  I know many players would like to see speeds in the 12 ft. range, but past experience has shown the amount of time for an 18 hole round increases significantly when greens are rolling that quick.

Tees & Fairways-Mow on Friday and Sunday.  Both areas have firmed up nicely and with no rain in the forecast, should play to your liking throughout the weekend.

Rough-All rough areas will be cut at a 2″ height on Thursday and Friday, with the primary rough (20-30 ft. around greens and fairways) mowed one additional time over the weekend.

Bunkers-Will be raked with a mechanical rake on Friday and Sunday, and hand raked on Saturday.  As I’ve written in earlier posts, the unusual number of heavy rain events over the last 4-6 weeks have caused an excessive amount of washouts in the sandtraps.  Because of this, we’re using the cultivation tool on our mechanical rake to “loosen” the sand and attempt to minimize the number of “hard lies” in Hilldale’s bunkers.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and good luck to all those playing in the Hilldale Men’s Club event on Saturday and Sunday.