Mother Nature’s Cruel Sense of Humor

As Spring moves forward and we see high temperatures conducive to what would be expected in mid April. We started to see a return of green, as soil temperatures rose and grass left dormancy. We have begun mowing and fairways, tees and greens have been mowed a couple of times. Things were looking great, and then Mother Nature put everything in reverse.
It started mid afternoon on Saturday, April 12. A front moved through and pelted us with golf ball size hail. The storm caused significant damage to our green surfaces as well as tees and fairways.

The top image shows a side by side comparison of a hail stone to a golf ball. The second image illustrates the damage caused to greens from the hail stones. The final image shows the impact the storm had on fairway surfaces.

The process of repairing the damage done to greens began on Monday, by repairing the areas and filling with a mixture of sand and seed. Once we finish repairing we will roll the greens to help smooth the surface and prevent mechanical injury from mowing.
Then like a sick joke, after one of the coldest and snowiest winters in history, it began to snow on April 14th and April 15th most of the Chicagoland area woke to 1″ to 2″ of snow.

The top image looks like a golf course in Early March, however this image is from April 15. Underneath the snow the grass has a great green color expected in Early Spring. The last image is from the WGN Chicago Weather Center shows snow total amounts as well as the likelihood of late season snow fall. It isn’t as rare occurrence as the news made it seem.

The snow caused a loss of progress on many projects we have been tackling at Makray Memorial Golf Club Golf and Grounds Maintenance Department. We are currently in the process of removing the artificial turf from the rear of the range. Once removed we will be back filling with sand and expanding the surface of the driving range tee. Drainage projects have also been at the forefront of our short term plan. Many areas that have needed drainage, will be completed this Spring

The top image shows the damage that can be caused due to cart traffic and excess surface moisture. This area behind #13 green has been a perennial problem for years. The second image shows us wrapping up construction on the project. It is amazing how well placed drainage can alleviate problem areas.

We will continue with drainage work in the next coming weeks. We will also be busy with many other small projects and maintenance. Hopefully this cold snap comes to an end and we can get back into Spring and move toward the Summer. Hope to see you on the course.

Timothy Christians
Head Golf Course Superintendent

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