Tournament ready; waiting on the weather...

I, like many, have spent the last six weeks trying to figure out why Mother Nature still thinks it is February.  To support my claim, I dug into some weather data and found that the average daily temperature for both March and April is under 40 degrees (37 and 38 respectively)!! Soil temperatures for the state are averaging 44 degrees.  The historical soil temperature average is 55 degrees and the 10 year average is 57 degrees. So yes, we are all justified in saying IT IS colder than normal!!!  I hate to mention this, but I also found that the average daily temp for April 1-20, 2017 was 56 degrees! That's almost 20 degrees warmer.

But, we are not doomed.  It will warm up.  I promise.  It reminds me of working with an Assistant Pro in Chicago, who when asked by members if it was going to stop raining would reply, "it always has..."  So yes, it will warm up, "it always has",  and when it does the course is going to be ready.

The reason it will be ready is because…

When is it time to open the Golf Course?

Spring is an exciting time of the year.  There is a buzz and energy throughout the environment.  You sense it from people and pets on warm, sunny days. From an agronomic perspective, plants awaken, triggered by soil temperatures, day length, and other factors. Golf fans can enjoy watching Tour events on the West Coast and through the Southern U.S. and Florida; teasing the upcoming shift from cool and grey to warm and colorful.  For the Agronomic Team here at Weibring Golf club, we are anxious to get back to the servicing the turf, soils, and ornamental components of the golf course. We again look forward to analyzing how weather and people interact with our golf course environment. 
Our first analysis of the season is deciding when to open the golf course. One approach we could use to make this decision is strictly the economic impact. This results in opening and closing the golf course throughout the off-season based on fluctuating weather. When air temperatures reach an acceptable le…

What do we do all winter?

My favorite and most frequent question.  Each winter is different, but what we accomplish in the winter will setup our successes for the upcoming golf season.  Bottom line is that details matter.  We look for ways to improve the details in all aspects of our operations.

Some of those details fall into course accessories.  Each winter we look at ways to improve the accessories on the golf course and training center.  In years past, we have crafted new tee markers, seed and sand boxes, and updated our recycling and trash disposal setups.  This year Corey Wisher, the Assistant Golf Course Supt., spent much of his winter handcrafting new range accessories.  His work includes new range dividers, pace-of-play clocks, and wooden "apple crates".  See below for the picture slide show of his work.  Its pretty impressive!

The dividers will be used at the hitting bays at the Mounier Golf Training Center.  The pace of play clocks will serve as a Tee Time reminder for those warming up at …

Tree Replacement Program

Since arriving just before summer in 2015, we have been aggressively removing dead and diseased trees and replacing them with new varieties in better locations.  My predecessor, Mike Rayman, began the process years before and deserves tremendous credit for his efforts.  We also owe thanks to our University Grounds department and their tree specialists.  Many years prior to my arrival at Weibring GC, they began planting/transplanting trees into a little used space adjacent to the golf course. We refer to this area as the tree nursery (located just west of #3 tee box) and in total we transplanted 35 trees into the golf course. Dr. Kopsell and a number of his horticulture students here at ISU have been tremendously helpful in identifying our trees, rating their health, and suggesting better replacements for diversity and quality.  You can see some of their work as you pass by the trees during your next round.  Every tree on the golf course was identified, GPS mapped, and tagged with an I…

Mounier Golf and Training Center Drone videos

Over the past couple weeks we have been working with a local photographer and drone pilot, Jim Finch, to develop content for marketing, recruiting, and promotional purposes.  It has been a fun and educational process.  With plans to use the footage as part of marketing and promotional campaigns, we were required to seek permission from the Athletic Dept. and ISU before beginning.  The use of commercial drones is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.  You are required to hold proper licensing and certificates before operating a drone for commercial purposes.  In other words, don't try this yourself.  
       With Jim's help we have been able to acquire videos and still photos of the golf course from angles and elevations never before seen.  The amount of footage is overwhelming.  In total, we will have between 500 GB and 1 TB of files to edit and produce.  This is a great winter project for the golf course that will be aided by our professional video staff …

Bunker Pitch Presentation

We have begun the initial planning stages of a complete bunker renovations here at WGC.  Timing, scope, and logistics of the project are still in the works, but I have confidence that the project will get off the ground in the near future.  There will be a scrolling summary of the project on a flat screen in the Pro Shop throughout the remainder of the season.  I will also be holding narrative presentations to accompany the slideshow.  The first narrative will be held Friday Oct. 27th from 1-3PM in the Pro Shop.  If the weather permits we will also tour the course to answer any questions.  I will repeat the narrative a couple more times this fall.  Come by this Friday or check back for updates on future dates.

Below is the complete slideshow being presented in the Pro Shop.  

The Cost of renovating
The investment comes at a cost. For our project we are looking at a figure of over $200,000. There are certainly ways to lessen than cost, but only by sacrificing important components of a r…

Fall Aerification Update

Weibring Golf Club @ Illinois State University  Agronomic Update-Fall Aerification
Many golfers are aware that a golf course must aerify.  Here at Weibring GC, our fall aerification practices are set to begin Monday Oct. 16th.  Here are our plans for aerification, followed by a brief explanation of why we aerify.

The Plan: 

Greens- Back 9 on Monday, Front 9 on Tuesday.  Putting Green will not be aerified until on-course greens heal enough to roll smooth. Every green will be topdressed with sand before aerifing; aerified with a half-inch solid tine, followed by another topdressing, brushing, fertilizer, and water. Greens with excessive black layering and black algae accumulation at the low points will be core aerified in those trouble areas only. 

Fairways- 4 inch vertical slice offset at 1 degree, brushing, verticutting, and aggressive mowing. We will solid tine the fairways in the Spring, a practice we started this past spring and received better results. 

Tees- Aerified with a solid half…