Thursday, May 31, 2018

Record Breaking May Precipitation

With the storms in the late afternoon on May 30th, we officially broke the record for the wettest May on record at O'Hare. Somehow the airport only received .9" of rain yesterday for a total of 8.21" for the month. At our location in Villa Park, we received 3.1" yesterday making our total for the month well over 10". Surprisingly, the course has not suffered much from all the rain this month. The storms were spaced out with dryer periods in between so the turf had a chance to recover before the next saturation. Yesterday's 3" was the most we received in one storm. While the creek did temporarily flow over its banks and flood a few areas, it receded by this morning with minimal debris left to clean up.

As wet months go, we have been lucky that the days of high heat did not come immediately after a storm. It is usually the combination of standing water, heat, and scalding sun where we see lasting turf damage. It is much easier for turf to handle a wet month in May, or any cooler month, than during June, July, and August when the temperatures are usually higher and grass is more stressed.

We saw a scene like the picture below a few times this month, but in general the course has been in great shape.

High Water
Most mornings have been more like this:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Finished Deck Pictures

We completed the deck three weeks ago just in time to be enjoyed in the nicer weather after our unusually cold early spring. Many people have had the chance to enjoy it since it was opened.

After completing the deck, we also rebuilt the retaining wall between the deck and the entrance. The old wall was built in 1992 and was failing. We made the bed slightly smaller and channeled the downspout through the wall to prevent it from washing out. I did not take a "before" picture, but it was not straight, level, or attractive. We moved the wall in 36 inches to allow for slightly more room to park golf carts.

Finished wall with top cap and downspout installed:

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Deck Rebuild and Other Winter Projects

Since October, the maintenance crew has been working on rebuilding the clubhouse deck -- on days the weather allowed, at least. At first we were only going to replace the decking but after inspecting the beams things escalated quickly into a complete rebuild. We are currently about 75% complete with the project and hope to have the deck open in April.

Here are some photos from the rebuild:

New triple 2 x 12 beams
New beams and rim joist
New frame asembled

New frame on the "wrap-around" portion

Joists covered with waterproof tape
New boards and taped joists
This deck railing jig made installing the spindles and building railing sections a snap:

Deck railing jig
Here you can see some railing installed. The finished product will have a 2"x6" cap on top.

Wrap-around section complete (except for railing cap)
We have received many questions about the wood. It isn't cedar, but it looks a little like it. It is actually pressure-treated southern yellow pine treated with a pigment to mask the usual green color of treated pine. It is often called cedar-tone in stores. The cedar boards from our original deck were rotting from the bottom up so I liked the idea of a board treated on top and bottom. It is a little more difficult to work with than cedar, more prone to warping and splitting, and a little knottier, but I think it will last longer in our situation here.

In addition to the deck, the crew also completed a lot of tree pruning and the usual equipment maintenance and reel grinding.  Here is a fairway mower reel being ground on the spin grinder:

On March 5th, we also aerified the greens with bayonet tines. This produces channels in turf to facilitate root growth and gas exchange as the greens dry out. After rolling the greens, the slits are barely noticeable and the greens can be putted on immediately. 

Here are the greens after one rolling. They will receive more rolling and mowing before they get much play. By that time, the little slits will be almost invisible but I have taken core samples of them two months later that show the slits full of new roots and still a viable channel for air and moisture.

After one rolling

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