Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spring Projects

When we opened the golf course in mid-March we were looking forward to an early spring season.  Unfortunately the early season warmth has turned into a cool wet spring to date.  This past weekend we even experienced some light frost, which is somewhat abnormal for this date.  The good news is the long range forecast shows significant improvement with temperatures near 70F and a somewhat drier pattern.  Several spring projects are underway as we prepare for the season, details are outlined below.    

With the full driving range tee reconstruction on hold, grounds staff applied a heavy sand topdressing to the tee in the late fall of 2015 before over-seeding with 007 bentgrass.  The tee was then covered for the winter.  We expect the tee to open mid-May.

Work is underway on a new private lesson tee and junior area to the southwest of the main driving range tee.  The junior area is designed to accommodate the influx of youth golfers, kids camp and alleviate wear and tear from the main driving range tee.  The private lesson area will allow for undisturbed one on one instruction with the golf professional staff on a grass surface that mimics on course conditions.

Repairs to the sewer and storm water systems were completed over the winter to close out the MWRD (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District) swimming pool permit.  Over the next few weeks grounds staff will be backfilling and sodding disturbed areas near the 18th tee and clubhouse lawns. 

Extensive drainage was added to the approaches on 2 and 14 early this spring.  These two areas have historically been the wettest approaches on the golf course and experienced some turf thinning late last summer due to water logged soils.  So far this spring the drainage has been performing well and the approaches are quickly drying after rainfall.

Two Maple trees were removed from the right side of the 11th green this winter.  The first tree was dead, and the second was casting extensive shade on the green causing the grass to thin.  Removal of these trees left an opportunity to reroute the cart path further to the east and also install some lower plantings between the green and cart path.  Grounds staff is currently moving irrigation and with some dry weather will continue cart path relocation and regrading east of the green.

The stone curbing project continues throughout the golf course in high traffic areas.  Late last fall Grounds Staff installed curbing near the halfway house, 14 green, 10 tee and 5 tee.  This spring staff is working to backfill behind the installed curb and level the sod to the top of the curbing.  An asphalt contractor will be on site later this month to repair any areas of asphalt that were disturbed during installation.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Winter Updates & Projects

March brings us closer to spring weather and the much anticipated opening of the golf course. The winter months were spent working inside the shop and on the golf course as the winter weather allowed. An overview and pictures of a few of these projects can be found below.

Over the winter, we also made an addition to the Grounds Management staff. Our new Assistant Superintendent Jason Hazel joined the Ridgemoor Staff in January.
New Assistant Superintendent Jason Hazel

Jason attended Purdue University where he earned a Bachelors in Turf Science before moving to Atlantic City, New Jersey. In Atlantic City, Jason worked at Galloway National Golf Club in Galloway, New Jersey as a Second Assistant Superintendent. He also has worked as an intern at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, IN, Chevy Chase Country Club in Chevy Chase, MD and interned two years at Galloway National Golf Club. In his free time Jason enjoys the outdoors and spending time with friends and family.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine and preventive maintenance to our equipment fleet is one of the most important winter tasks. This maintenance includes grinding all of our reel mowers, changing fluids & filters in all machines, and addressing any mechanical issues. The time spent pays significant dividends in extending the life span of our equipment fleet and avoiding down time during the golf season.
Ernesto preparing a fairway reel for grinding

Benito changing a fairway mower bedknife

 Spray boom sanded and ready for primer and paint

                        Winter Tree Work

The cold weather and frozen ground over the last few months has allowed for us to continue our removal of Ash Trees throughout the property. These Ash Trees have extensive Emerald Ash Borer damage. Several other trees throughout the property were removed due to significant disease and decay. Although the Ash Trees were damage due to insects, the hardwood was still salvageable. This off season we worked with 2 local companies to re-purpose much of the wood.


Ash Tree damage from Emerald Ash Borer

Rotten and decayed tree trunk


Horigan Urban Forest Products will re-purpose the salvageable lumber from our tree work for use in custom construction projects throughout the Midwest.


Northwest Wood Products will re-purpose the remaining of our lumber to build pallets and grind into mulch.
                             Oak Park Avenue Fence Clearing

Staff spent a week the winter clearing brush and overgrowth from the fence line along Oak Park Ave. This fence line was neglected and extremely overgrown. With this clearing project we will be able to monitor any issues with the fence and remain in compliance with the village of Harwood Heights.
Fence line extremely overgrown unmaintained
Substantial growth removed from fence line
Noticeable difference after crew removes over grown material






Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fall & Winter Seasonal Projects

As we transition from fall to the off season winter months, we have taken full advantage of the remarkable warmer temps during December. It’s pretty amazing we had 7” of snow cover at Thanksgiving. Since then the snow has melted away and our staff has been hard at work with a variety of projects.

Morning sunrise after Thanksgiving snow storm
Natural Stone Curbing
We have continued to expand the installation of the natural Lannon stone curbing around tees and greens. In the spring, we will add soil and raise the sod to meet the existing grade where the new stone curbing was installed
Stone Curbing around #5 tee and cart path

Stone Curbing around #11 tee along with drainage along cart path
Approach Drainage
As we strive for championship playing conditions, it has become imperative to address the installation of drainage in our Approaches that will allow for firmer and better playing conditions. We have trenched and installed 2” drain tile and back filled trenches with a sand organic mix.

Trenching for drainage installation on #2 Approach

Drain lines installed every 6’ to allow for consistent drainage throughout entire approach

2” drain tile installed and backfilled with sand organic mix
Sodding Greens
With the unexpected warmer temps it has allowed for us to address a few select areas on our putting surfaces that struggled through their first initial playing season. We have removed the struggling turf and replaced these areas with thick established sod that with allow for these areas to get a jump on the recovery process in the spring.

Benito installing sod to #3 green
Fairway Topdressing Fairways
One important winter preparation task is the sand topdressing to our fairways before the winter freeze sets in. This application of sand helps in the protection of the crowns of the plants through the long cold winter months.
Heavy sand topdressing applied to the fairways

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rain Rain Go Away

The 6.5" of rain in just over 48 hours proved to be more than the golf course could handle and unfortunately we were forced to close the course.  The pictures below will give you an idea of the conditions early Tuesday morning.  The good news is the course is draining well and with a little good weather and some hard work we hope to have you back on the golf course very soon.

Sunrise looking east towards the 10th fairway (above)

Taken from the Driving Range Tee looking west (above)

Hole #2 (above & below)

From the 10th green looking north (above)

Fairway bunker on the 6th hole (above & below)

5th hole "island tees" (above)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Weather & 1st Mow

As expected the winter weather had little effect on the new bentgrass planted on greens, tees and fairways as part of the Renovation Plan.  As the snow melted Grounds went back to work preparing to open the golf course in early June.  TDI is set to return in mid-April to finish up cart path work and some minor sodding.  Follow along on Twitter and the Blog as we prepare to open! 

Snow melt in late March revealed no winter damage here on the 17th green or anywhere else on the golf course.

The 6th fairway after the spring thaw is in great condition.  The BBB and ProAngle sand stayed in place just as we left off in the fall.

The 1st mow on greens took place on March 20th (above).  The third mow on April 8th (below) shows some very nice green up despite the cold temperatures.

The short game area and 18th fairway were both seeded late in the fall and covered over the winter.  We removed covers on April 7th and are very pleased with the results.

A few of the shaded tees required sodding in order to be ready in time for opening.  Our crew (above) works from plywood to sod the 13th tee.

Bail areas behind 4 of the greens were also sodded early this month to 007 bentgrass.  The finished product looks fantastic! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter Tree Work

The cold weather and frozen ground has allowed us to drive our  heavy equipment on the golf course and continue our Ash Tree removal and replacement program.  Several Ash trees we have removed show extensive damage from the Emerald Ash Borer.  Our goal is to remove all Ash Trees over the next several winters and phase in a diversity of new trees planted in strategic locations.  The first of these plantings will take place this spring in conjunction with the Renovation Plan.

This is the first evidence I've seen of cold weather damage.  The recent cold snap caused this tree to split.  Unfortunately we'll have to remove this tree for safety reasons.

Tunneling of the Emerald Ash Borer is evident in the photos below.