Sunday morning update

August 21, 2011

Forgive my poor weather forecasting skills…we did receive another .25″ of rain overnight.  Today will definitely be a soggy day on the golf course, albeit a nice sunny day.  I’m hopeful that by tomorrow (8/22) we’ll be able to lift the cart restrictions and go back to our ninety-degree rule, but until we can reevaluate conditions later…please follow the cartpath only rule with no exceptions today.  Thanks very much.


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

 
 

Great Weekend Weather

July 30, 2011

All indications point to a couple of days w/o rain!  Now that’s a good thing.  There will be cart restrictions in place…at least on Saturday.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on the course, and if at some point during the day the fairways are drying to the point where turf damage will be minimal…then obviously we’ll remove the cartpath only restriction.

The excessive amount of rain and humidity has caused a rapid acceleration in turf growth.  We’ve double-cut and rolled greens the past two days (normally, something I prefer not to do when putting surfaces are sooo soft), and still have had a hard time getting green speeds above 10 ft.  We’ll continue these practices right through the weekend with the hope of achieving not only good speeds…but more importantly, a good/true roll.  Fairways will be mowed this morning and hopefully (weather permitting), the next several mornings as growth is at a peak rate due to all the moisture.  Bunker maintenance has required an extreme amount of man-hours this week, and this morning we plan to cultivate/rake the sand to minimize compaction (“hardness”).  The Hilldale Men’s Club has their two-day member/member event this weekend, so good luck to them and I hope all regular players and guests enjoy the golf course and find conditions to their liking.  The picture below is from earlier in the week when the Evanston Firefighters had their annual outing.

First foursome of Evanston Firefighters at the finishing hole


Rain, Rain…Go Away

July 29, 2011

10 days ago we were begging for rain, and now, 10.5″ later…please make it stop!  We had 1.25″ of rain yesterday, and another .5″ last night…of course with the ground now being very saturated, the water has no place to go.  Fortunately, the golf course is open for play and it sounds like we might actually have several dry days in a row coming up.  We will require all golf carts to stay on paths today, and if I had to guess…probably tomorrow (7/30) also.  Check back here for a weekend update, and thanks as always for playing Hilldale.


After The Storm…

July 25, 2011

Well amazingly, we’re pretty much back to normal on all fronts at Hilldale Golf Club…only 48 hours after record (5+ inches) rainfall.  There will be no cart restrictions and I think you’ll find the course to your liking…please, just be patient with us regarding green speed and bunker conditions.  It’s imperitive that we “baby” the greens for several days (especially with more 90 degree temperatures on the way), and as you can see in the picture above…we’re hard at work putting the bunkers back together after the extreme amount of water and subsequent washouts.  A heavy downpour plays havoc with bunker conditions…sand gets contaminated with the underlying soil and therefore causes “hard pan” type lies when playing bunker shots…long story short…bunker consistency becomes an issue.  We had 5 or 6 heavy rainstorms in 2010, and as many of you know, bunker consistency was very poor last year.  So please bear with us as we correct problems left over from an extreme rain event.  Thanks and I’ll see you on the course!


Saturday-July 23 Update

July 23, 2011

Good Morning…Unfortunately, it has been a very stormy morning!  I don’t have an official rain total as of this writing…but after viewing several areas of the golf course it looks like Hoffman Estates probably received 3-4″ of rain overnight.  The course is not playable right now with several cartpath areas covered with water.  The flooded areas are receding at a fairly quick pace…so although the course will be closed this morning, I am hopeful that barring additional heavy rainfall…the Mad Dog Outing will go as scheduled this afternoon.  I’ll post an additional update later this morning and as always, you can call the Pro Shop @ 847-310-1100  ex.27  for information.   Thank you.

View from the 17th Green


Winter Golf, 2010 Review, A Look Ahead

December 1, 2010

A few years ago it was decided that Hilldale Golf Club would remain open to play for winter golf.  On days when temperatures reach the mid-upper 30’s with no snow, the course will likely be open.  Please call ahead to be sure (847-310-1100).  Golf carts with full enclosures are available.  Come on out and keep your swing sharp… the 2011 season will be here before you know it.

Speaking of winter, with Thanksgiving now past and cold weather setting in hard, a few important winter preparations were performed this past week.  The irrigation system (pumphouse, pipes, sprinkler heads) was emptied of all water using a large portable air compressor.  Greens, tees, and fairways were sprayed with plant protectants to prevent snow and cold weather disease. Finally, greens were topdressed with a heavy layer of sand to help insulate the turf from extreme cold and wind.  If weather allows in the coming days, I would like to add more sand to the fairways that were overseeded this fall (#’s 2,5,11,18).  Drainage work on #5 fairway was completed the week prior to Thanksgiving, and again…weather permitting, I would like to add drainage to a small area on #2 fairway (near the 100 yd. marker). 

Looking back on the 2010 season, above average temperatures were all too common.  The months generally associated with cool/damp weather (April, October, November) were very pleasant and dry.  Hot/wet conditions dominated the summer months, which made it a very challenging and hectic year for “yours truly” (fun was the word I originally used to describe the year, but as many of you know, sarcasm is not my strong suit). Seriously, managing a golf course grounds department through a year like 2010 causes a fair amount of anxiety and time away from family.  Because cool-season turfgrasses (like those grown on golf courses in the Chicagoland area) don’t handle high heat and humidity very well, a great deal of time and sleepless nights are spent conditioning greens, tees, and fairways to survive stressful weather.  However… I take a lot of pride in preparing the golf course for our members, guests, and regular players.  It’s a fun and tremendous challenge to continually present the course in a way that meets your high expectations.  I love this job and consider myself very fortunate to come to this golfcourse everyday — where so many people enjoy and appreciate the quality of our work.

Just like 1988, 1995, and now 2010, we’ll use the challenge of preparing a golf course during extreme environmental (weather) conditions as a great learning experience.  We’ll review our maintenance practices and use that knowledge to improve upon all facets of the course.  Hilldale’s greens came through the season in great shape, but now, we’ll find a way to make them even better and more pleasing to you.  Several fairways did not get through the season in the best shape, so what can we (the Grounds Dept.) do better to prevent or minimize turf loss the next time severe heat pressure hits? 

I was disappointed with the consistency of Hilldale’s sand traps in 2010.  Economic conditions have made it difficult to devote the time and money necessary to provide outstanding bunkers.  But, no excuses… we will figure out a way to ensure better bunker playability next year.  My first thought is to ask our players to please stop hitting shots into sand… ok? All kidding aside, improvements will start by adding 2-3″ of new sand to all green-side bunkers.  If time allows, we’ll do fairway bunkers also. Obviously, hitting a bunker shot with a “hard lie” isn’t as frustrating (maybe preferable) coming out of a fairway trap as it is a green-side trap.  Winter is the time when equipment repairs, snow removal, and tree upkeep (pruning, removals etc..) dominate most of our time.  But if conditions allow, we’ll make every effort to get a head start on the bunkers and start adding sand this winter.  Whatever start date is used, we’ll have a completion goal/date of 4.15.11 to coincide with a new golf season.  Check back here for progress updates.

Thanks to all for your patronage this year.  My staff and I appreciate the many comments directed our way and we look forward to seeing you on those nice golf days (let’s hope for many) this winter.  Finally, thank you to the wonderful people on Hilldale’s Grounds Department who make my life and job so much easier.

  • Fernando Chavez-Mechanic
  • Rosa Castro-Assistant
  • Jaime Jimenez, Sr.
  • Juan Maravillas
  • Victor Rosales
  • Carlos Rosales
  • Antonino Angel
  • Ricardo Rivera
  • Oscar Hernandez
  • Dave McDonald

Happy holidays to everyone.