Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tree Removal Project

Following a thorough examination of the Blue and White Nines, the Grounds and Greens Committee identified a total of 53 trees for removal. All trees slated for removal were chosen for one of the following reasons:

  • Poor Tree Health

  • Safety Concerns

  • Creating A Poor Environment For Growing Turf

  • Playability Issues/Previously Identified In Forse Master Plan

The removal process began in November on the Blue Nine. All work including removal, brush chipping, stump grinding and backfilling has been completed utilizing NSCC staff and equipment. The final seeding of the stump holes will be completed in Spring when conditions allow.

While evergreen trees were the most common tree removed, a few deciduous trees did make the list. The picture above taken following the felling of a willow tree on 3 White illustrates how labor intensive this process is. The diameter of the tree is greater than height of our staff member!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Drainage Projects Complete

The golf course maintenance staff worked hard throughout the month of October in order to meet our goal of completing all drainage projects by the end of the month. The warm weather and beautiful days often pushed our manpower to its limits as we were often faced with preparing the golf course for play as well as working towards completing the drainage projects.

As was mentioned in the previous blog entry, the fairway drainage projects focused on three major areas. The approach to the green on 2 White received an ample amount of drain line to eliminate the ever present wet conditions in this area. As we exited this drain line across the beginning of the 6th fairway, we took the time to install sufficient drainage to alleviate the wet spots in this area as well. After we finished in this area, we turned our attention to the 7th fairway on the White Nine. This area is always troublesome since it sits below the water level of our irrigation pond. Additionally, very little fall is available to move water from the fairway. After installing the proper amount of drain line to aid this fairway, we used the excavator that we rented to install the culvert pipe to clean out the drainage ditch that slowly allows water to move from this area of the course. Lastly, we turned our attention to what has recently become the most difficult fairway to drain at NSCC--6 Blue. In our most extensive drainage project to date, NSCC staff installed over 2,000 feet of drain line in the fairway, rough, and approach.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Golf Course Improvement Projects

At the September meeting, the Board of Directors approved two golf course improvement projects as recommended by the Grounds and Greens Committee. The primary focus of these projects is to improve fairway drainage and to properly manage the trees on the golf course. Prior to the recommendation of the projects, the Grounds and Greens Committee spent three hours reviewing both the White and Blue Nines to assess the value of and prioritize the importance of each project. Rest assured that both the drainage projects and the tree removal project closely follow the golf course master plan as created by golf course architect Ron Forse. The tree removal project will begin in late fall and will likely continue into the winter. The drainage projects are currently underway and will be completed using NSCC staff by early November.

The most challenging component of the drainage project is the replacement of the deteriorating culvert pipe which diverts water below the fairway on 7 White following heavy rain and snow melt. The existing pipe was composed of galvanized metal and had been in the ground for over 20 years. Over time, the integrity of the pipe had been compromised and was no longer viable. After heavy rains, excess water would wash underneath the corroded pipe and began washing out the existing grade. The Grounds and Greens committee has taken a proactive approach and decided that replacing the old galvanized pipe with a new dual-wall, 24" inch PVC pipe was the best solution. This new pipe will last much longer than the 20 years that the old pipe lasted.

NSCC's golf course maintenance staff has nearly nearly completed the project. The old pipe was first removed. Staff next trenched the site in preparation for the new and slightly larger pipe, working carefully around existing irrigation pipe and wires. Staff often checked the grade while excavating and preparing the trench to ensure adequate fall. Following the installation of the pipe, the golf course maintenance staff will backfill the trench with gravel and soil. Once the final grade is completed, the golf course maintenance staff will return the sod to the fairway.

The other drainage projects approved by the Board serve to improve the poorly drained fairway areas on 2 White, 7 White, and 6 Blue. The project on 2 White, near the green, is nearly complete. After finishing this project early next week, the golf course maintenance staff will move forward with the drainage installation in the landing area on 7 White. Following aerification and closure of the Blue Nine putting greens on October 17, the golf course maintenance staff will install an extensive drainage system throughout the entire second half of the fairway on 6 Blue. This project will be completed by the end of October.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Couple Issues With Trees

NSCC is fortunate to have golf course with an abundance of trees. While playing a round these trees serve multiple purposes. In addition to providing an aesthetically pleasing environment, trees enhance the game of golf by providing strategic value in certain cases. As many members have noticed, some of the trees at NSCC appear less than healthy. In fact, there are two main issues with trees.

The tree above is a Litteleaf Linden. Littleleaf Lindens are located throughout the golf course and are easily identifiable by their pyramidal growth habit. These trees have proven to be a hardy variety and adaptable to NSCC's heavy, clay soils. Currently these trees have fallen prey to the Japanese Beetle. The Japanese Beetle feeds on the leaves of the tree, causing the tree to look less than healthy. This fall, the maintenance staff will treat all Littleleaf Lindens with a preventative insecticide to allow for a healthier tree next season.

The second issue involving the spruce trees at NSCC has been well documented within both the national and local media. The problem is associated around a new herbicide that was released last fall.

Upon its release, this new herbicide was revolutionary in three ways. First, the application rates were significantly lower than any other herbicide previously released. This is a huge benefit to both the applicators and the environment. Secondly, the herbicide is more effective on a broader spectrum of weeds than most other herbicides on the market. Lastly, unlike most herbicides that can only be applied during dry conditions, this herbicide offers the ability to make an application during both wet and dry conditions due to its systemic activity when taken in by plant roots.

Many golf course managers and landscape contractors began applying this herbicide last fall and this spring. We made our application this spring, predominantly on the Blue and White Nines. A few weeks following the application we, as well as other courses around the country, began noticing damage to the new growth on spruce trees. Since that time, some trees have continued to decline while others have remained the same. We currently have 74 spruce trees with varying degrees of damage. Other course within the state have reported anywhere from nominal damage to upwards of 700 trees.

Currently, there are at least two class action law suits filed against the chemical manufacturer. The EPA has also suspended the usage of the herbicide. The chemical manufacturer has opened a hotline for all affected customer and supplied forms to document the damage. Upon the submission of the forms, the manufacturer will send out professional arborists to further document the damage. Once the damage has been documented by the arborists, the manufacturer intends to introduce a plan for removal, replacement, and damage recovery for all those affected by their product.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Preparing For the Heat

The cornerstone of the maintenance program at NSCC may be most appropriately described as taking all necessary steps to prepare for the heat of the summer. This general tenet may be easily lost on most golfers since Wisconsin summers often seem way to short. In fact, we focus our maintenance practices around preparing the course to withstand the difficult summer conditions that usually occur from July 4th to the middle of August.

Make no mistake that even though we often receive favorable growing conditions for much of the early summer and fall, this six week stretch of weather can be especially brutal. Often times, as turf managers, we see increased disease pressure, soil moisture problems caused by too much or not enough precipitation, equipment and personnel fatigue caused by long days at work, and increased traffic stress caused by golf carts and player traffic to name a few.

In order to overcome these stresses, we tailor our maintenance programs to offset these stresses. Critical maintenance practices such as aerification, sand topdressing, a balanced nutrition program for the turf, preventative application of plant protectants, drainage installation, and irrigation system maintenance highlight some of the inputs required to keep a course in top condition throughout the stressful summer months.

Once we reach this time of year, our practices our evaluated on a daily basis to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to care for the turf at NSCC. Seemingly simple steps such as daily movement of the holes on greens to evenly distribute foot traffic and tweaking of mowing heights on putting surfaces assist in caring for the turf.

As we are about to embark on the hottest stretch of weather to date, the golf course maintenance staff has intensified its preventative maintenance measures. A few examples are highlighted below.

You thought aerification means big holes and bumpy greens? Not true, you probably didn't even notice that we completed an aerification process commonly referred to as "venting" last week. Instead of pulling larger diameter cores, the golf course staff poked the greens with very small, solid tines in order to improve air movement within the soil profile.

In order to combat prolonged periods of dryness, the golf course maintenance staff applied a combination of soil wetting agents which will allow the turf to maximize the amount of water applied to the turf.

In an effort to better analyze which products are best suited and most cost effective, the 5th fairway on the Blue Nine was sprayed with multiple wetting agents. Through continual evaluation we will be best equipped to determine the best product for the dollar on next year's purchases.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cold And Wet So Far . . .

The theme for the year so far can be best described as cold and wet. Cold and wet temperatures have prevailed thus far as temperatures have struggled to break 70 degrees on most days so far this season. In addition to frustrating golfers, the weather has also hindered the golf course maintenance staff as well. Critical practices such as aerification, sand topdressing, and most applications of plant protectant materials require dry days with ample sunshine. Fortunately, the cold temperatures have not hurt the course as much as they would in a year in which we were attempting to recover from substantial amounts of winter damage. To be honest, we are thankful that temperatures have remained cool this week since we have received 3.50" inches of rain to date with more predicted over the next couple days. The standing water on fairways becomes temperatures warm into the 80's and the water serves as a magnifying glass that can cook the underlying turf.

We have taken advantage with important tasks such as the core aerification of tees which occurred the week after Memorial Day. The current stretch of wet weather looks to break by the weekend which should allow us to get caught up with mowing, sand topdressing of putting greens, and an application of plant protectant materials on the fairways.

The benefits of fairway drainage become apparent during extended periods of wet weather. Currently the best example of this is on 7 White where additional drainage will be added this fall to complete the fairway.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Solid Tine Aeration On Putting Greens and Fairways

On Monday, May 2, the golf course maintenance staff completed the critical task of solid-tine aeration of putting greens. The entire process took two full days to complete all 27 holes. While this process does cause a temporary reduction in putting green quality, the benefit to the turf is realized during the high stress periods of the summer.

NSCC's putting greens were built in the mid 1960's. The original soil base consists of a highly organic and mucky soil. This soil does not drain well, which makes ample root growth and development difficult. Over the last twenty years, NSCC's putting surfaces have been religiously topdressed with a fines-free sand which has accumulated to a depth of around four inches. While turf roots thrive in this sandy, well-drained environment, they struggle to penetrate into the mucky layer below. The solid-tine aeration penetrates into this undesirable area and fractures the soil. The fracturing affect creates additional pore space allowing for ample air channels and root development.

Following the solid-tine aeration, the greens were rolled to remove any imperfections and to help close the holes, verticut to stimulate growth and recovery, topdressed with sand to further smooth the surface, swept to stand and long leaf blades upright prior to mowing and to incorporate the sand into the turf canopy, and finally mowed. After mowing, a combination of liquid and granular fertilizers were applied to accelerate recovery.

In a similar manner, the solid-tine aeration of fairways is also underway. Larger diameter tines are used in fairways, but the overall affect on playability is minimal. In no time, the fairways will have recovered and prepared to endure the onset of summer stress.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Picture Worth At Least A Thousand Words

Quite simply, drainage is one of the most critical elements necessary to obtain quality turf conditions on a golf course. The picture above, taken of the 7 White fairway, highlights this point. The portion of fairway displayed in the picture is taken from the dog leg looking back to the tee. As most members can surely attest, this portion of the fairway is historically a wet area as it is a low-lying area that actually sits below the water level of the adjacent pond. Golf course maintenance team members would be quick to point out that this area is also a very difficult area to manage due to the problems associated with excess water.

During the colder months of the year, water regularly accumulates in this area during freeze-thaw cycles which occur throughout our Wisconsin winters. The concern over potential winter damage in this area is common due to ice formation which often times leads to significant turf loss. This area also proves difficult to manage during the summer, as excessive moisture leads to saturated root systems which lack sufficient oxygen and increased disease pressure.

Ultimately this are is addressed in the Golf Course Master Plan as presented by Ron Forse. Upon completion, this fairway area will be raised and significant subsurface drainage will be added. Since the time frame for the implementation of the Master Plan has been extended, the golf course maintenance staff added drainage to this area in the fall of 2010. The golf course maintenance staff utilized only our remaining inventory of supplies to complete as much drainage as possible without overextending our budget.

Following winter, one can easily see the benefits of the drainage to this area. The turf in the areas surrounding the drainage remains in good condition, while the areas of the fairway further from the drainage, the forefront of the picture, have suffered areas of damage due to ice accumulation. The golf course maintenance staff plans to revisit this area in the fall, adding additional drainage in areas where ice accumulated over the winter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Even after being given the option of taking the rest of the afternoon off, a few dedicated staff members decided to stay and complete the tasks they were working on, even in the midst of what is hopefully winter's last hurrah. The golf course remains in good shape, even in the midst of conditions that more closely mirror those of early March. The wintry mix that we are currently experiencing poses no threat to the health of the turf. The biggest impact it has on our Spring planning. Cold and wet weather slows down the growth rate of the turf, lowers soil temperatures, and makes golf course access difficult. Once warm weather returns, or rather begins, the golf course staff will once again resume with our early season maintenance practices.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Putting Green Maintenance Begins

The warmer weather of last week was well received by both golfers and the maintenance staff alike. While many members were able to take advantage of the recent spring weather by playing a few rounds, the golf course staff initiated a couple of key practices in our intensive putting green maintenance program.

Days which are both dry and sunny lend themselves to the successful implementation of both vertical mowing and sand topdressing the putting surfaces. While these practices may be completed independent of one another, the completion of both practices in conjunction with one another serves improves the quatlity of the putting on a number of different fronts. The labor intensive process includes:

  • Vertical mowing in two directions at 1/8" deep and perpendicular to one another which removes thatch and other organic material

  • Removal of the debris created during this process

  • Sand topdressing

  • Sweeping the sand into the turf canopy

  • Mowing the greens following the sweeping process in order to ensure a smooth surface

The vertical mowing serves both to remove organic matter from the putting greens as well as to stimulate growth on the plants that have just begun to grow. The removal of organic matter ensures a firmer putting surface, while at the same time maintaining the proper water and air movement throughout the turf canopy. As you can see in the picture, a significant amount of material is removed during this process. On average an entire utility vehicle full of organic matter is generated per putting green. The new growth stimulated during this process allows the turf to more quickly cover any remaining aerification holes and other imperfections which may exist following winter.

Sand topdressing also helps to provide a firm and smooth putting surface, while at the same time further diluting the amount of organic matter in a putting green. When this light application of sand occurs immediately following vertical mowing, the sand readily fills the small grooves created by the vertical mowing and very easily penetrates the turf canopy.

Sweeping the greens forces the sand into the groves and also stands the turf upright. A final mowing following the sweep removes these long blades of grainy turf and provides a uniform height of cut and smoother ball roll.

When the weather cooperates, the golf course maintenance staff on Mondays which are golf course maintenance day. Since the course is closed until noon on Mondays, the golf course staff completes this process without disrupting play.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Golf Course To Open Saturday

Since the prolonged winter appears poised to leave the Milwaukee area, the golf course is slated to open on Saturday morning. Eighteen holes will be available for play as both the Red and White nines will open. While this week's wet weather has hindered the golf course maintenance staff's ability to get work done on the course, it certainly hasn't dampened our enthusiasm as we quickly approach the beginning to the 2011 season. I am very pleased to report the course is in great condition following the winter. Upon opening, you will notice the putting greens and tees are free from any areas of significant winter damage. The fairways also have weathered the winter extremely well. Only very small areas of damage exist. These areas, with some encouragement by the maintenance crew, should heal quickly upon the arrival of better growing conditions.

The golf course maintenance staff is in the process of preparing the course for our opening day on Saturday. Since the course is very wet and tender, the maintenance team must complete all work without the use of golf carts and utility vehicles. To date we have completed repair and raking of nearly half of the bunkers on the Red and White nines. All debris has been raked up on the golf course. The debris will be collected once the golf course is dry enough to support vehicular traffic.

Prior to Saturday, bunker rakes and tee accessories will be hauled out to the course. On Thursday, we plan to mow all putting greens for the first time of the year. While the first mowing is completed at a higher height, the affect of the procedure will provide smoother putting upon opening. Please remember that the turf has only begun to show signs of growth at this point. Take care to exercise great caution upon embarking on your first rounds of the year at NSCC. As always, take the time to replace divots and repair ballmarks. See you on the course!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cold Weather Slows Course Opening

The combination of last week's cold temperatures and this week's predicted cold weather has caused the golf course to take a step backward. In order for the golf course to open, we must first be certain that all frost has left the ground. Traffic on frozen turf and soil, even foot traffic from golfers, can cause a significant amount of damage to the plants themselves. The turf at NSCC is very susceptible to damage at this point in the year. Until the plants are once again growing, they are unable to recover from any damage that they may receive from play. The golf course maintenance staff is eagerly watching the forecast in anticipation of course opening. To date, our activities on the golf course have been limited due to the frozen conditions. While some course clean-up has been completed, much work remains to get done. As the frost leaves the ground, the golf course maintenance staff will begin preparing the course for opening. Activities such as bunker repair cannot be completed until the bunkers are free from snow and the sand is no longer frozen.

The picture above helps to illustrate how fragile turf can be when the ground is frozen and the plants have not yet begun to grow. The brown tire tracks are clearly distinguishable in the photo taken of 8 Blue fairway. While the picture was taken recently, the damage was done in December when we applied black sand to fairways in order to melt the ice. Imagine for a moment the potential damage that could occur should golfers be allowed to walk on frozen fairways, tees, and putting surfaces. This picture not only illustrates how the decision to remove ice should not be taken lightly, but also how sensitive the turf can be during the winter and early spring. Many areas such as this exist throughout the course which will be noticeable upon course opening. In most cases this damage seems superficial and the turf should quickly recover following a couple weeks of growth.

As the forecast indicates, temperature appear to warm significantly toward the end of next week. These temperatures coupled with the hard work of the golf course maintenance staff will allow us to open the course as soon as we are able. Both I and the turf thank you for your patience.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Strong Start to 2011

Throughout last winter, many stories were shared by golf course superintendents about the horrific growing conditions of 2010. While most stories revolved around the challenging summer conditions due to excessive rains followed by high temperatures and excessive humidity, golf course maintenance staff employees and members of NSCC are well aware that the challenges of 2010 began as the snow first receded from the course. The melting snow revealed significant turf damage due to excessive ice coverage and flash freezes following rainfall.
The most common question of 2011, asked by NSCC members and maintenance staff personnel alike, is "how's the course looking?" I had been hesitant to give a definitive answer to this question, even though everything has been looking very good to date. Nearly all the ice formed in December had melted and snow had covered the course on a mostly consistent basis for the remainder of the winter. Both of these outcomes lend themselves to healthy turf in the spring.

Even though environmental conditions worked mostly in our favor, I was hesitant to give a definitive response for two reasons. First of all, one of the most common plant protectant products used to prevent fungal activity beneath the snow was removed from the market in 2010. The lack of availability of this product caused us to use a new product for the prevention of these pathogens. After lengthy analysis of university research and further cost analysis, we selected a combination of products that appeared to meet our needs. Since 2010 was the first year we applied this product, I was concerned about its efficacy, even though all research had indicated it should function well. At this point, I am pleased to report that the combination of products which we applied has exceeded expectations, allowing for nearly 100% control of winter pathogens. The second reason I was hesitant to predict the courses condition is due to the fact that the course is ever-changing. While the course appeared to be healthy throughout the winter, poor conditions in spring were still possible. A rain event, followed by a hard freeze could still present problems, although the likelihood for this decreases with each day. A moderate rise in temperatures, without extreme fluctuations in temperature, provide the turf at NSCC the greatest opportunity for survival and viability in the days to come.

Currently, I am very pleased with what I have seen following multiple walking tours of the course. The putting surfaces and tees have survived the winter with almost no damage at this point. The fairways are well above average. There appear to be no widespread areas of damage. There may be some small areas of damage in fairway depressions where minor areas of ice accumulation occurred. Currently, the course could use a gradual increase in temperatures to get the turf started out right. Once all frost has left the ground and the soil has dried enough to support foot traffic, we will open the course for play.

Taking Advantage Of Warmer Weather

After spending most of the winter inside, the golf course maintenance staff is thrilled to be working outside. Last week's warmer temperatures afforded us the first taste of spring-like weather of the year. In addition to melting most of the remaining snow, the sunny days allowed us to install a new roof on rain shelter on 7 Blue tee prior to the ground becoming too soft for equipment passage. While this shelter, and its sister on 2 White, are not the most beautiful structures on the course, they have provided many golfers safe refuge from multiple storms over the course of the past summers. Years of exposure to inclement weather had left the roof of the shelter in terrible condition. Late last fall, many shingles were blown from the shelter, exposing the rotting roof below. The maintenance staff did a great job replacing the roof, ensuring that the shelter will remain serviceable for years to come.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So Far, So Good

The last few days of relatively warm temperatures have allowed for the snow to snow to slowly dissipate throughout the golf course. Areas of the course which had previously been covered by 14" of snow have been reduced to about 6". To date most greens and fairways remain snow covered, while higher, wind swept mounds are now free from snow. I have extensively toured the golf course over the last couple of days in order to more closely examine the condition of the turf. Since most fairways and greens are still covered in snow, I removed snow from areas which are typically susceptible to winter damage. At this point, I am pleased to report nearly all of the turf which I uncovered looks healthy. We can thank the warm temperatures that we received around New Year's Eve and Day. As was mentioned earlier, nearly all of the ice was melted during this time. The turf looks undamaged and free from all potential pathogens which can cause damage during prolonged periods of snow cover. At this point, the plant protectant materials which were applied last November appear to be doing their job very well. Small representative samples are a good way to determine if there appears to be large areas of damage, but as always, I will reserve final judgement until larger areas of turf are exposed. A gradual spring warm up will suit us best, as damage may still occur due to extreme temperature fluctuations, but so far, so good.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Blizzard Of 2011 Hits NSCC...What About the Turf?

As was discussed in the previous entry, NSCC was saved from another potentially disastrous spell of winter damage when nearly 100% of the ice melted on New Year's Eve. Ice damage is often the most devasting and uncontrollable type of winter damage we face at NSCC.

Since the time of the melt, NSCC had received a few small snow showers, enough to provide sufficient snow cover to insulate the turf from the freezing temperatures that we often realize in the Milwaukee area. Without snow cover, the exposed turfgrass plants are susceptible to drying out over the winter. This winter drying, or dessication, is common in areas of little snow cover where cold and dry winter winds whip across the turf surface. The front of the green on 7 White is an area where this may typically occur at NSCC due to the high elevation and exposed face of the green.

After touring the golf course following the blizzard conditions of the last couple days, it appears that the 18-plus inches of snow we received stayed put in most areas to prevent large scale dessication injury to the turf. While many of the bluegrass mounds located on green surrounds and bunker complexes are now exposed following the 30 mile per hour winds, the putting surfaces remain well covered. The golf course is truly beautiful right now, appearing more like a lunar surface than a country club. In same places, the snow has drifted over six feet high!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Thaw Provides Relief To NSCC Turf ... This Time.

The near 60 degree temperatures we experienced on New Year's Eve in the Milwaukee area certainly provided the opportunity for relief from the ice which had encapsulated most fairways at NSCC. On December 12, NSCC received over and inch of rain followed by temperatures that quickly dipped below freezing. These falling temperatures, coupled with already frozen ground, did not allow for adequate drainage of the rain water prior to the formulation of ice on nearly all of our fairways. At best, we were looking at another spring such as last year where winter damage related to ice formation was wide spread throughout NSCC. Remember our fairways consist of a combination of creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass (Poa annua). Poa annua is much less receptive to ice coverage and may experience substantial turf loss after only 60 days of coverage. Since the ice formed early in the season, we were likely to have ice coverage for a period which far exceeded the 60 day window.

The solutions to ice formation on turf during winter in northern climates vary greatly and are widely debated among turfgrass professionals. On smaller areas, such as putting greens, ice may be removed by hand. This tedious process can save turf, however, physical damge may occur during the removal process. The simple act of walking on semi-frozen turf may cause more damage than the ice itself. The act of physically removing pieces of ice may cause root shearing and physical damge due to the frozen state of the turf. Sometimes the act of removal may cause more extensive damage than what would have occured simply due to the ice formation.

Ice removal from fairways is even more difficult, especially at NSCC. Since many of our fairways are low-lying, they are highly susceptible to ice formation. If a thick blanket of snow exists, ice removal is almost impossible. In the process of removing the snow to gain access to the ice, we must either plow or snow blow from the iced-over areas. This process creates mounds of snow, or dams, which makes water evacuation even more difficult.

6" Ice on 7White Fairway, Following Black Sand Application

Fortunately, we had very little snow following the ice formation in December, making the ice very accessible. Within one week of the ice formation, the golf course maintenance staff applied 10 tons of black sand to the iced fairways. The black sand warms quickly due to solar radiation and weakens the ice. Even if the ice is not completely melted, the sand can create channels allowing for air exchange and reduce the potential for turf loss due to suffication. Remember, we need sun for this process to work. Without sun, the black sand will just remain on top of the ice and not penetrate within.

Even though the golf course staff made the sand application, cold temperatures and limited sun had provided only marginal improvement in reducing the ice. Fortunately, mother nature assisted us by providing a thaw on New Year's Eve. While often times a thaw can prove disastrous for turf due to refreezing of water, this winter's thaw was so extreme it allowed for a complete removal of ice from the golf course. So intense was the thaw, that the frost actually lifted from the upper two inches of the soil. The lack of frost allowed both for ample water absorption and moderate drain line function. These two processes accounted for almost complete removal of the water prior to refreeze. Since this time, NSCC has been topped off with a few inches of snow to act as an insulating blanket for the turf. This blanket of snow should provide adequate protection for the turf from freezing conditions. While we are not through with winter yet, we can all sleep a little easier knowing that we no longer have significant ice cover on our golf course

7 White Fairway Following Thaw

6 Blue Fairway Following Thaw--6" Ice Gone!

Monday, January 3, 2011

NSCC Drainage Project Highlighted In GCI Magazine Article

The December issue of Golf Course Industry magazine, a leading industry publication, highlights NSCC's successful putting green drainage project that was completed in October 2010. The article entitled "Don't Lose Out To Poor Drainage" reviews the project which was completed by golf course contractor Golf Preservations. The article describes the three-year project at North Shore along with a similar project at Toronto Golf Club. Several pictures of the project, as well as a photo of NSCC's practice green (up close and personal following seeding), are featured in the article.
Click here or the picture above to view the article in its entirety.