Friday, December 30, 2011

On top of the world

Ok, maybe just a dirt pile, but I am on top of something as you can see. We are looking down on the footprint of the new proshop. Footings will be poured today, and once the concrete is in place, this building should go quite rapidly.
Next week looks like we may have some ice in our water rink!
Happy New Year,

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Golf lobby

Here is the golf lobby, which will be transformed into family dining. The old bulletin board is out and is was on the wall to the right. The ceiling tiles are out and the wall in the foreground is only a temporary partition for construction.
I asked Santa for this lift for Christmas, it sure is nice.
I think I was naughty though,

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fixtures are out

It is almost time to make the turn. The turn from destruction to construction. The light fixtures are out and it is amazing how flat the ceiling now appears.
Making the turn, is also significant, because this area will be known as "the turn."
Neat play on words huh?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pro shop work

We are busy inside today. The lift is here and the light fixtures will come out, hopefully. Some walls are coming out and the room will take on a whole new look real soon. It is amazing how big this area is. The ceiling is going to be impressive, and I hope to have some photos later today.
Safety first,

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bumper cars

Looks like we are playing bumper cars in the golf lobby. No, look closer, we are pulling up carpet, getting ready for full blown renovation that will take place after the new year.
I will keep you up to date with the progress of the project, right here, you won't even need a hardhat!
This area we are preparing is future family dining.
We are getting really good at ripping stuff up,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hot tap

In 1750 this technology was produced to be able to tap into water lines without taking the lines out of service. The grey device is a drill and will retract after a hole is cut into the line. The Valve will then be shut and we can run a new line. It was invented back when water mains were redwood, Kankakee still has a redwood mainline in service. This water line had to be moved to make room for the new proshop.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The ice rink is here, the ice rink is here

Santa brought us a present early. We will be putting up the rink over the next couple of days. The weather does not seem to be conducive to ice making.
Speaking of Santa, he will be here at Briar on Sunday. Come on out and get your picture with him!
Let's lace em up,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What do we do in the winter?

We get together and answer life's difficult questions. This is the Illinois Turfgrass Foundation's winter education at the Midwest golf house. This two day event is attended by the best and brightest superintendents in the Chicago area. This years topics stress fertility, soil science, and plant growth regulators.
I have served the last two years as President of the association, and our annual meeting was today! My sentence has been served!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Winterization of Golf Carts

Well, it looks like it is that time of year again, time to think about snow skiing and ice skating, but for my golfing friends, time to think about storing your golf cart for the winter. I always get questions about the winterizing process, this year I thought I would post a simple checklist for you.

little Ralphie on a cart
  • Turn the key switch to the “off’ position, remove the key, and leave the forward/reverse switch in the “neutral” position during storage. Then place the tow/run switch in the “tow” position. Note: since the battery warning light does not illuminate with the key in the “off” position and the tow switch in “tow,” do not use the warning light as an indication of the batteries’ charge state.
  • Clean the battery packs, tops and terminals using a battery acid neutralizer (1 cup baking soda per 1 gallon water). Check, clean, tighten and treat battery terminal connections with a battery terminal protector spray. Tighten all battery cable connections.
  • Check the water levels in each battery cell. If water is required, fill the cells to cover the plates, charge the set, and then use distilled water to top off each cell at least ½ inch above the plates or to the level indicator.
Batteries showing corrosion on terminal. note the installation date

  • You may leave battery chargers plugged in during storage. If cars are equipped with an on board computer, the OBC automatically will activate the charger when needed.
  • If the battery charger is left plugged in during extended storage, check the electrolyte level and the charger function at least once a month to ensure that proper operation is maintained. To check charger function, disconnect the DC cord (stationary charger) from the vehicle or the AC cord (on board charger) from the power source and wait five seconds before reconnecting. The charger is functioning properly if the ammeter indicates current.
  • If AC power is off for seven days or more, the OBC will not function or charge the vehicle again until it has been restarted. To restart the computer, make sure AC power has been restored, disconnect the DC cord (stationary charger) from the vehicle or the AC cord (on board charger) from the power source, wait five seconds and reconnect.
Tow Switch
  • Be sure to check the batteries monthly to maintain the correct water level in the batteries and to ensure the charger is operating correctly during storage.
  • Disconnect the batteries for the storage period if any of the following conditions exist: the charger cannot remain plugged in continuously, AC power will not be available during extended storage, or if electrolyte levels will not be maintained.
  • Check tire pressure and inflate to 18 to 20 PSI, or as called for in the owner’s manual.
  • Perform all semiannual lubrications.
  • Thoroughly clean the front and rear body, seats, battery compartment and underside of vehicle.
  • Make sure the storage facility has adequate outside ventilation.
  • Do not engage the park brake, but secure the car from rolling. (keeps pressure off the brake components)
Hope this helps, maybe we need a video!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where's Waldo?

I mean Marco?
Look closely...he is there.
Marco is an excellent asset to my team. We are clearing oaks for the new pro shop, and it is getting exciting around here.
Winter cart maintenance is coming I promise!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cross country ends the 2011 season.

The cross country event was another gas! This year we played a nine hole scramble and the winning team shot 37. Check out the member in the photo, I think he is calling his shot!
The weather has finally turned and snow is falling this morning. We have cut nine temporary greens into the original back nine just in case cabin fever becomes to much to bear.
We have some excellent firewood that will be stacked at the end of the cart shed. It is all maple and oak, come and get it, it won't last long.
Winterization of carts will be a subject this week, I promise!
Hope you had a great holiday weekend,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cross country

It is official, the cross country tournament will be held on Friday. This is considered by some, to be the greatest event ever!
Next week we will post winter cart storage care!
Happy thanksgiving,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Long summer

It has been a long summer, an it continues. The photo is of a divot that was taken out of seven red green. I am now officially rooting for snow.

Friday, November 18, 2011

There is something strange growing

at Briar Ridge, and its on my face.  Every November, I participate in Movember, I grow a mustache in attempt to change the face of male cancers.  My family doesn't care for it, and i get a lot of flack, but I think it is important.  Men are not typically good at this, look at the pink ribbon.  This year has taken an important meaning for me, as last night I learned my favorite Uncle has terminal liver cancer.  Please help me to do something good with the ridiculous thing on my face.......visit my site and make a donation.

I call this years mo, "the trucker", Thank you,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Frozen surfaces

The greens froze overnight. Yesterday soil temps were in the 40's, so as soon as it warms up, they should thaw. It is currently 30, so we should be ok to go about 11am. The low for Friday night is 32, and we will keep checking soil temps, but delays for Saturday could run into late morning.
This could be the last week for greens,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Last rose of summer

It looks as if we will be playing on greens through thanksgiving weekend! The forecast only calls for two maybe three nights of below freezing. If the greens do freeze, we will not allow play on them until the entire profile thaws out. Thaw can sometimes take until around the noon hour, so if you are planning on playing, watch the nighttime lows. Once the greens enter a solid freeze cycle, play is limited to temporaries.
This weekend looks good,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Special note from the ladies!

This November weather is something else!!  We have not had but a handful of frost delays, and the greens look like they will be open again this weekend.
I agreed to pass along the invite to the 9 and 18 hole ladies association Holiday party.  The link is below.  Please take a moment and read it, even if you are a male!  This year we have an opportunity to show appreciation for a staff member who fights a courageous battle each day.  Lynn Fontanyi  has battled cancer since 1999, more of the story is in the invitation.
Congrats on your Bears beating up on my Lions.....cheaters,

Briar Ridge Ladies Holiday Party

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More great fall golf

It may be a little windy, but it is warm. Course is in good condition an the greens are rolling well. Get out and enjoy this while it lasts.
Perennials should all be cut back by now, but leave your grasses until the spring.
Don't forget to clean your gutters,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Warm and windy

We are open, carts on the path. Looks good for the weekend and we will keep the greens open. Due to the cold temps and the grass growth slowing, please repair all ball marks. Any voids in the putting surface that are left open this time of year will surely be filled with poa annua next spring. Remember, just because your ball is not on the green, doesn't mean that you didn't make a pitch mark!
These are bonus days,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Upcoming week forecast

The forecast is warm for the weekend. We have decided to keep the greens open, since nighttime lows dip below freezing only for a couple of days. If the forecast holds, long delays could be possible on Thursday and Friday, as we wait for the putting surfaces to thaw out.
Have a great day, it is rainy, but really warm!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The poor practice tee

The range is closed for the season and our poor practice tee is feeling bad. We still have many open areas, and they will remain that way well into the spring. We are examining our option over the winter to provide our members and guests with quality practice facilities. Those options include changing the variety and possibly the genus of the turf.
We will see how many of you actually read this after that zinger!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sometimes I border on ridiculous

And fall is one of those times. Soon after Florencio leaves this green, it will be covered in leaves again. This year seems to be a steady stream of leaves falling to the ground. The first freeze has been predicted for Thursday. We close the greens when the greens begging to consistently freeze at night. We still have a couple of good days coming, Tuesday is one of them.
The mustache is for movember, which raises money for male cancers,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Frosty morning

Delays are common right now, typically we don't start until 9:30 this time of year. It is 37 degrees at 8:20. We will change rotations to get you out ASAP.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wonderful weather

It seems like summer is trying to hang on as long as she can. The nighttime temperatures at the key to keeping us playing on the the greens. Once the putting surfaces start to freeze, is when we go to the temporary greens. So get out here while we are still on the greens.
Mowing and rolling today for the weekend!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little air compressor

This little guy will help us remove the water out of our irrigation system. This endeavor will take us the next five maybe six days. We systematically go through the system to ensure that freezing water does not damage our pipes over the winter. High pressure air can damage nozzles and gear rotors , so if you have a home system, be sure to have it inspected at start up for proper functioning of each head.
Yes, this thing consumes some diesel fuel,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One of the best

Green speeds here at Briar are always good after a hard frost. We have had some cool nights, so we are getting close. The cool weather slows the growth down and we only mow a few times each week. Today is one of those days and we are removing some tissue! What does that mean? Fun golf, don't get above the hole, and pay attention!
This will be one of the warmest days!
Call in sick and come play golf, your secret is safe with us,
Turf and ralphie

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

King salmon, bathrooms, and water quality

I couldn't believe my eyes, beautiful King Salmon, running through the golf course. I consider myself a steward of the earth, taking care to do the right things. Now, I view our ditches in a different light. Not only do they need protection, but a collective effort to improve their condition.
Bathrooms will be closed at the end of this week. Temperatures are dipping close to freezing, so we will be turning the water off to the outbuildings. Please make friends with several homes bordering the course, so that you will have facilities at your disposal. If you live on the course, be weary of anyone who seems strangely "chummy".
I have been active to a small extent with the Hoosier riverwatch program. This program monitors the water quality in Indiana rivers. We would like to see a riverwatch team created here, please contact me for more details.
Its a bit chilly,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Borrego Open Champions

Congrats to Pat Callahan, Adan Villanueva, Florencio Falcon, and Dave Miloshoff on their victory in the 2011 Borrego Open. Thanks to Linda Hendrickson, Barb Cristenzio, Steve Childress, Dennis Koliboski, and Chef Harry for making sure we had too much to eat. John Georgiacakes came through again with some great roasted lamb. John and Nick Hecimovich are big supporters of this event and they mean a great deal to us. Thanks to everyone who participated. I really appreciate those who gave up their regular sunday game to play nine holes with us. I love the fact that it shows my staff how much they are appreciated.
Looks like another great weekend for golf! The Tigers need a big win today!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Topdressing fairways

We are resuming our practice of topdressing fairways. Last year we traded this practice in order to renovate some bunkers. Topdressing helps with the excessive thatch that we have, and helps firm up the surface. Does this affect play? Most of our negative comments this year was about roll in the fairways. The only other thing that we did this year, was the collecting of clippings. Hopefully resuming this practice will result in a firmer surface, and everyone will be bombing driver again.
Yes, there are king salmon in our creeks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Of the grass people!
We have some interesting decor this year, my family is even represented on the patio. We are mowing rough like crazy! One rough mower lost a pump and boy do we miss it!
Weather is great! Come on out, we have a new menu and if you missed the German food on the buffet last night, shame on you. The golf course is playing really well, maybe the best of the year!
The old pro is even in town.........briar trifecta!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Indian summer

Ralph says come on out, enjoy some great weather, see our fall patio scene, and tee it up!!
No, really what he says is "oh, what's that over there, I think I will go chase it!"
But the weather is going to be great, we have suspended aerifying more surfaces so that we can concentrate on cleaning up and blowing leaves. The weather is too nice and we figure we will have lots of play. We will resume cultural practices next Monday.
Borrego open on Sunday.
Check out the briar ridge turfgrass Facebook page, and theworldofturf on you tube!
Happy harvest,

Monday, October 3, 2011

Aerway of the fairway

We are running aerification equipment on the fairways and tees today. We would like to get as much done as possible and it looks like the weather is going to be great! We usually aerify the first three days of the week and then skip Thursday and Friday to concentrate on getting the course ready for the weekend (especially if the weather looks good).
Borrego open this Sunday, open house at our shop 9:00am.
Loving the sunshine,

Friday, September 30, 2011

Borrego Open Date Change

It has come to my attention that I have given poor information.  The Borrego Open is Sunday, October 9th.
The Bears play Monday night for the loyal fans who like to punish themselves on Sunday afternoon, this could be an appropriate alternative.
Past Borrego Champions


The Borrego Open

Next saturday, teams will compete in a nine hole scramble, for what some consider, the pinnacle of golfing achievements. The Golden Borrego, is elation for those who have held her high, and disappointment for those who drive and ambition were not enough to hoist the beautiful creature high above their heads in victory. I have been fortunate to kiss her golden lips and taste the sweetness (a salty earthiness) of golf domination.
We will have a nine hole scramble at ten o clock with awards and lamb roast following, in the maintenance facility. We do the lambs on the grill and ask for pot luck style dishes. We will also host shop tours before the scramble, with equipment demonstrations.
If you are interested in participating, please let me know.
There will be a small conspicuous sign up in the proshop, as this is one of the more underground events at the club!
Any questions?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A glimmer of normal

Is what we have this morning. The course is very wet, but we are going to try and cut as much as we can. The cold weather has helped us out by slowing things down a bit. We are cart path only today, and hopefully high winds will change all that soon. The rain allowed us to focus on some other areas, namely flower beds and the front and back gates. Now the leaves are really going to start falling. Check out the briar ridge turfgrass Facebook page for some shots of fall color!
Apple cider and donuts,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

PSM scramble

"Mr. Good Boss" is what he would call me. I miss him often, and his photo resides behind my desk, I guess you could say he still looks over me and my duties here. Palmer was a true gentleman, and I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with him. Palmer was instrumental in implementing the Audubon for golf courses program here at Briar. Tomorrow, we honor a great man, who did many more great things in our community. Please join us an play a round of golf in his memory.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Turfgrass expo

Today is the Illinois Turfgrass Iexpo at the Midwest Golf House in Lemont. The I expo brings together research and turf managers for a day of education and networking. One of the topics this year is selective removal of bentgrass in roughs. Bentgrass can be a weed in certain situations, and here at Briar, we have a ton of it in our rough, one example is shown in the photo. It becomes more of a problem, for me anyhow, in our green banks. If you participated in the Big Par 3, you supported turfgrass research, and "thank you!"
We hope today will enlighten many turf managers!
Erwin McKone, President
Illinois Turfgrass Foundation

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Walk mowing again!

Today is the first post-aerification walk mowing of greens. The sand has worked into the turf and the holes are almost completely healed! The greens should be back to normal tomorrow, and definitely by the weekend. We will begin tee aerification on Monday, weather permitting. The skunks are still digging for grubs and we are treating these areas with a second application of grub control.
After a summer like this, I wonder how it is possible to have celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary yesterday, I can't possibly be much fun to live with. I bet I make up for it with quick wit and humor in the fall!
Blue skies,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What can you do with 26 tons of sand?

I can tell you what we did, we put it in 1,750,000 holes. Yesterdays aerification start (19 holes), went down as the smoothest I have seen here.....literally! The greens were in perfect condition, firm and the soil moisture was perfect. They should heal in quickly, which is why we choose to begin right after labor day. We have 8 to go this morning, I just hope today goes as well as yesterday, just not as long!
I know, you are all mad, it's ok,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Relief from a tough summer

We are busy filling holes now, doing everything we can to promote drainage and root zone modification. A high quality putting surface depends on everything you don't see. In order to work the root zone, we have to do it from our vantage point, which is thankfully, above ground. We will update the Facebook page with our progress.
Brooming sand,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chilly start, snow clouds, and falling leaves

There is a bit of autumn in the air. Cottonwood trees are beginning to turn colors and fall to the ground. Aerifying and topdressing begins tomorrow. We hope to finish by Wednesday afternoon. The greens are actively growing and recuperation should be quick. I hope to report that the ball is rolling well with minimal impact by Saturday. We will also be topdressing fairways after we verticut them.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


So, it's labor day, heat indexes of 100+, and the skunks are going to start digging for grubs. Really??? Really really??
2011 is going to make a lot of superintendents ex-superintendents.
The skunks must have seen the stressed turf and assumed grubs were there, they didn't find any but that didn't stop them from tearing stuff up. I can't wait to see some of our stressed spots, to see the damage they did.
We did have some breakthrough of our chemical for grub control, and Bayer chemical is providing us with secondary control.
Ralph doesn't seem to think it's a big deal, you can tell by the big dumb look on his face.
Enjoy the Holiday weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Home stretch

Labor day signifies the end of the season for us, cultural practices begin, and we take on a new sort of busy. Typically, we can relax a bit and enjoy the weekend, not this year. This is the warmest start to September in 58 years. This tough summer, is not goon down easy, we are out hand watering, and schools are letting out early due to heat! Crazy!!!
The photo shows that areas around trees continue to suffer.
Next week we will aerify greens, or "blow up" greens as some members like to say. I personally think that is an exaggeration, we college holes with sand, and in a week or two, they will be back to normal. We will aerify nine holes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Hopefully the weather holds. The sooner we get them completed, the sooner they heal in. Waiting later in the year means longer healing and more poa annua!
Come on out this weekend!
Two man event on Sunday, sign up today, there are some individuals looking for partners. This is the best event according to some.
I have had enough heat,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Puffy fairway

If you need a name for your band, come see me, it seems I can always find some good ones on the golf course. Ladies and gentleman.....puffy fairway! (cheers and screams)
So, here is the deal, heavy clay soils on 19 fairways, they never seem wet enough for cart paths only, because the thatch absorbs the water like a sponge. The clay beneath, when wet is extremely susceptible to compaction when wet. The more compaction, the less air space and the less roots will go into the soil. The less the roots go into the soil, the more they grow in the thatch. You can see from the photo, the thatch in the fairways. Thatch is very good at absorbing energy from the ball. You will see us beginning our fairway topdressing practice again in the coming weeks as we battle this evil monster!
In extreme weather, thatch that dries, dies.
Oh my,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Golf weather

The forecast is awesome!
Time to grab the sticks and play for seven straight days.
The course received a good soaking yesterday. We would like to see the tops of the greens dry down, and they should the next few days. Some of the puffy turf in the fairways is starting to behave better. They respond to humidity much like my hair! So, now that the humidity has dropped, we are having good fairway days! We will be aerifying soon, so get out and enjoy! Some areas are continuing to thin, as they have run out of reserves from a tough summer. We are seeding areas in the rough that died from pythium.
We see a light,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Briar ridge men's club championship, take 2!

Let's try this again,
Overnight rains made some things soft, brought down a willow tree, and made bunkers icky. The rain was not enough to put us on the path though. We will get the tournament resumed ASAP on the white this am. We do not see much in the way of markers out here, so, hopefully most groups are between holes.
We have lost most of our summer help to school.
Animals are starting to dig were they think they can find grubs.
Is it September yet?

Friday, August 19, 2011

To fill or not to fill......

That is the question. The classic question whether to fill or replace is demonstrated in this photo. It is my opinion, that the lie off the divot is much better. With weather conditions turning more mild, grass from divots has a pretty good chance of survival. You can see there is some turf growing on the divot, even though it dried up the day it was taken. The photo doesn't show up as well, but the ball in the divot is a good quarter to half inch lower. I will post a side photo on the Facebook page.
Step it down really well,