Friday, January 27, 2023

Upcoming Surface Drainage Installation

Something that we already knew, but became even more obvious during ""The Storms of 2022 - 2023", was the need for surface drainage or what is commonly referred to as French Drains in our new Hybrid Bermuda Fairways. We plan to get started on this installation process next week as we simultaneously wrap-up storm cleanup. We will be updating our progress both through this GBGC Course Update as well as the Golf Shop's Daily E-Mail's.

As I mentioned last week, we are repairing damaged cart paths on Monday 1/30/23 as well as processing large tree that toppled on the right hand side of the driving range. After that, depending on where we are with storm cleanup, we will get started on this surface drainage. We have allot of work to do throughout the course, but our initial priorities are on fairways #4, #12 & the front of #18, not necessarily in that order.

The below images represent the worst areas we plan to address first. We will be shifting tee markers forward to various locations in the fairways on the holes we are working on so the work can remain productive, and keep members away from the construction zone. The work on #12 alone is extensive as you will see below. We dont want to get anyone hurt, and we need to stay productive not having to stop every time a golfing group approaches. There will be plenty of signage  that will designate  these temporary forward teeing areas, and we will complete sections that we started early in the week by the weekend so course will play at normal distance's on Saturdays & Sundays.

An overhead drone image taken of #12 during one of our more mild rain events of early January. Great illustration  of the difference's between #13, a right to left sloping fairway, and #12, drainage that moves from Green to Tee. 

The blue and yellow lines above represent approximate drainage pattern of #12 fairway. Blue lines are the main drainage lines and the yellow line represent the herringbone pattern lateral drainage lines. This hole will need approximately 2000 lineal feet of drain pipe or more as well as 100 tons of gravel.

Surface drainage is not complicated. Its a ditch with pipe and gravel for the most part. Its just a load of work as we need to relocate all of the soil from the ditches and haul in rock to replace it. 

This is a closeup of the very beginning of #4 fairway. We installed some drainage in this area back in November, but it wasn't enough. Green lines depict previously installed drainage and blue & yellow depict additional necessary drainage.

Shade is another issue with this particular portion of fairway. Standing water and shade are a bad combo for any turf or plant, but  for dormant Hybrid Bermuda in January,  this combo can be  lethal.

Selective tree trimming will help allot.

This is the beginning of #18 fairway during storm waters. The watershed from the back of the range , #18 ladies tee and the cart path all  head this way. A new surface drain is a must.

Storm Cleanup Continues

Our efforts on storm cleanup have been going well the past few weeks have been going well. As mentioned above we still need to process a large tree the toppled on the right-hand side of the Driving Range as well as a few stumps to remove, but the down trees that impacted golf play have been processed. 

Enrique removed the stump of the toppled tree on #4 and is now smoothing the area getting it ready for some sod.

The large tree on the right- hand side of the Driving Range that we will process on Monday 1/30/23. 

Thanks for your support and patience. The Best is Yet to Come!

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Sunny Days Are Here Again

Finally, the wet weather pattern we have been experiencing since the beginning of the year has ended. Extended forecast for the foreseeable future is for sunny skies, no rain and highs in the mid to upper 50's, lows in the mid 30's. These low temperatures could lead to some frost, but this clear, non-rainy weather will allow the course to dry out.

Processing the trees that toppled during the storms is going well. By the end of the week (1/16 - 1/22) we should have most of the tree limbs chipped and the wood moved off the golf course. Next, we have to work on getting the stumps removed or ground, then repairing the scars they left with sod. 

We will work on this stump work next week (1/23 - 1/29) along with prepping cart paths that we damaged during storms that are slated for concrete pouring Monday 1/30/23. In addition to the storm damaged cart paths, we will prep and pour other sections that need repair such as #9 tee & #11 tee. Additionally, we plan to continue surface drainage work in the fairways, if they dry out enough to do so, which became more obvious then already recognized during this extreme rainy period that kicked off 2022. 

We needed a break, so this forecast is good news. There is still a decent amount of rain season ahead of us.

Rain accumulation measured by our own GBGC weather station through 1/18/23 is 8.83". This is the second highest January accumulation in 18 years and December's 12.34" was the most in a December for GBGC maybe ever. We are currently only 1.18" below our regional seasonal average with a decent amount of rain season ahead of us. Interestingly there have only been 4 years out the 18 years represented above that we have exceeded the regional average. 

Although it was still extremely wet from recent storms, we were able to get most of the rough mowed this week. Leaving it un-mowed would have made for nastier conditions then already exist for anyone playing out of the rough this weekend. Additionally, if we waited until Monday for ideal drier mowing conditions, we would have had a clipping mess on our hand with overall conditions still too wet to get sweepers or blowers on the course to clean it up. 

Rough on #18 freshly mowed.

Tree cleanup going well. Above picture depicts Ky working on two large tree that fell on top of one another behind the lower #14 tee's, onto the lower right-hand rough on #14. We still will have work to do next week as previously mentioned. We have stumps to remove, a big tree on the driving range that we won't get to until Monday 1/30/23, as well as wood to remove. 

Chipping the brush on #15.

Granite Bay has received some significant rain in the past, but if we were to look at the last 50 days, we have never experienced anything quite like what we just went through (see above rainfall accumulation data). Over 21" of rain in 50 days, over 30 trees down, all on a new golf course with new warm season Hybrid Bermuda fairways that do not thrive in this type of weather. 

I know with more surface drainage work as well as sand topdressing and tree pruning to mitigate winter shade issues, our fairways will be better set up to handle future winter rain events as we just experienced. The drainage and tree pruning work will continue as soon as we dry up a little, and complete cleaning up after the Tree Toppling of 2023. 

The Best is Yet to Come!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

2023 Winter Storm Cleanup


"Truer words have never been spoken" when it comes to what Granite Bay Golf Course Maintenance had planned for the winter of 2023. We had big plans to get started on irrigation improvements to water our cool season rough independently of our Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways. We had pruning and tree trimming areas designated to work on, continuing the theme of opening up views throughout the course and expanding sunlight to the turf. 

These plans will have to wait as we find ourselves once again reacting to what nature has in store and reminding us that planning and reacting play equal parts when managing and maintaining a golf property. 

As I mentioned last week, we lost over 30 trees since Christmas and are still in process of cleaning up after 20 of those 30 that blew over a week ago. Amidst the wind and tree toppling was rainfall, which makes everything wet, limiting equipment access to areas as well as slowing processing efforts down. We have the resources to bring in additional help, but tree companies are swamped as you can imagine with real life emergencies that take precedent over cleaning up after tree loss on a golf course.   Below are some pictures that tell the story well. 

GBGC rainfall data through Friday 1/13/23. December was a record for GBGC and January still has a chance to eclipse 2017's 10.91". YTD through early to mid-January we have measured almost 21", only 3" off the average for our area. Bigger news then our rainfall is snow accumulation in the mountains remains very impressive.

Toppled Tree's

We closed the B9 last Sunday 1/8/23 because of all of the down trees blocking cart path access. On Monday we spent the day just clearing cart paths. We finished clearing cart paths on Tuesday, then started processing all of the wood and brush focusing on areas near cart paths first as access to centers of the course with equipment such as woodchipper and tractors to remove wood would cause more damage to the course.  

We made some progress despite continued inclement weather and early morning noise restrictions, but we didn't finish, and likely won't finish completely for another few weeks as access issues remain, at least for next week, and we have the stumps and cart path damage to deal with. Below are a few pictures of the 20 that came down last week.

Cart path crossroad #15 Tee and #16 Green

#18 cart path.

#17 walking path. Moved tee markers forward for the time being.

Digger pine next to cart path #18. Damage to be repaired in the coming weeks.

Same Digger Pine before we cleared cart path.

This picture was featured in last week's course update as the only tree to topple
 so far this year that changed a golf hole. This is a multi-trunk live oak 
on the left-hand side of #4 about 220 yards out. Brush is still out there as 
it is difficult to process without causing turf damage until it dries out a little.

Weather forecast is for a few more days of this and then some clearing. 

An ironic rainbow Sunday 1/8/23 hours after the trees came tumbling down.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Looking Like a Wet Year

Rain, and plenty of it, has been the story of 2023 so far. The GBGC weather station has received 8.22" of rain since Christmas and recorded 2.90" on New Year's Eve alone. We recorded 12.34" of rain in December, the most ever for GBGC, and have recorded 2.90" through the first 5 days of January. 

When it gets this wet it's hard to play golf as well as get anything meaningful done on the golf course. We can't do the kind of work we had planned, such as supplemental irrigation or surface drainage work because it is too wet and this type of work cannot be done in wet weather. Even the tree pruning and brush clearing we had planned is being replaced by the need to process trees and parts of trees that continue to come down during the storms. Until Saturday night we had not lost anything that would affect the integrity of the course. However, during the windstorm of Saturday evening 1/7/23, we lost the multi trunk live oak on the left-hand side of #4, 200 yards out. (See picture below) 

For the big picture all of this rain is good news. The rain will stop at some point, and the course will dry out. Until then, we'll keep reacting to what nature brings us. Below are some pictures of the weather story of the past couple of weeks.

Overhead showing the flow lines of #12 during storm last week.

Upper practice green during rainfall.

18 years of GBGC weather station rainfall data. December 2022 was a record. The 2.99" shown for January 2023 is through the first 6 days. 

Folsom Reservoir (FR), the reservoir that supplies a lot of the regions water as well as the irrigation water for GBGC is filling up fast. Notice the vertical line heading up then down on this year's graph line. FR operators started releasing water to keep the  primary purpose of the reservoir intact, which is flood protection.

Snow in the mountains still currently holding up well, especially for the Central Sierra which feed FR.

Although FR is filling up quick, The States larger reservoirs up North are taking longer. FR fills fairly quickly because of its size and relation to a very active watershed, but these larger reservoirs take longer and are key to ending the drought we are officially still in.

The forecast continues to call for rain and if the forecasted amount of rain comes to pass, we could be close to surpassing 2016 - 2017 GBGC rainfall record for January.

So far this winter we have had well over 30 trees or large portion of trees that have come down from weather related storms. The multi trunked, Interior Live Oak on the left-hand side of #4, just over 200 yards out will be the first one that will change the hole opening up the approach shot on the left-hand side of the hole. This one came down during the windstorm of Saturday evening 1/7/23

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Winter Solstice

Wednesday 12/21/22 is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and considered the beginning of winter by some, or midwinter by others, because every day forward logs an additional minute or so of daylight. Nighttime versus Daylight will still dominate our days until March 20, 2023 where we will experience the Spring Equinox where the  length of our day's and night's will be equal. 

These dates are helpful for us to follow in that we can plan for changes that affect how the turf  can be cultured and will react to golf course maintenance practices. For example adding a minute of daylight and the solar radiation it provides every day starting December 21st means that moving forward we will be getting that much closer to our Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways waking up. Watching the seasons go hand in hand with watching the weather as they are perpetually linked and affect everything we do to prepare golf playing surfaces for our Members. 

Winter Solstice Sunset at Stonehenge, Wiltshire England.

Drainage Work

In a previous course it was mentioned that the need to install surface drainage in flow lines of fairways is very common after new construction. All of the surface drainage installed on the old fairways was either destroyed or buried during renovation and is no longer functional. And it became very obvious once we started irrigating last year where the new surface drainage was necessary.

We installed surface drainage on hole #'s 10, 4,8,12, throughout the summer to name a few. This week we are installing some more drains on #12 up towards the green. Look for more of this to take place this winter and into 2023.

New surface drainage being installed on #12 fairway between front two bunkers. Aerial view shows scale and length of this first drain on #12. 


As we all know, the golf course at Granite Bay went through drastic changes in 2021, and 2022 was an extension of those changes as we grew in the new turf and fine tuned maintenance practices on the new golf course. Some of the  changes were structural increases in turf areas. Besides the fairways converting to warm season Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda, they grew in size by 20% from 25 acres to 30 acres. The putting surfaces grew in both aggregate size by 30% as well as numbers from 21 greens to 23 greens.

 We  decreased our total  bunker square footage by 28% and went from 77 total sand bunkers to 67 sand bunker's. However the maintenance requirements and man-hours for  our new bunkers with more intricate scalloping edges and shapes is more then the older versions as edge trimming is more involved and we hand rake them rather then using a mechanical rake. 

We confirmed that we have some work to do on the irrigation system facilitating the need to water our new warm season Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda independently of our cool season Tall Fescue rough. And we also confirmed that continued sand topdressing and drainage work on these new fairways will give us the fast, firm & sustainable fairways we have yearned for here at Granite Bay for quite some time. 

We tied up quite a few loose ends from the 2021 renovation in 2022 as well, including supporting Diamonds Golf's return to the course to finish up water feature work on #12 and tie up some loose ends of their own. It was indeed a busy year including recruiting new GCM employee partners to get all of this work done. We appreciate all of the support we received during this time from the Granite Bay Golf Club Membership 

Thank You

The Granite Bay Golf Club Golf Course Maintenance Staff would like to again thank the Granite Bay Membership for their generous contribution to the employee partner holiday fund in which our staff are beneficiaries. Additionally we would like to Thank You for your support of our efforts in 2022. Cleaning up after 2021 was a undertaking and we couldn't have done it without your patience and  support. 

We would also like to wish You and Yours, from all of us in  the Granite Bay Golf Club Maintenance Department, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Weather Considerations

The sport we love is played outside on a living, breathing plant and weather will always play a big part in golf course conditions, as well as golf course maintenance practices. Weather in our part of the world can be somewhat predictable spring and fall, and less predictable summer and winter, and the unpredictable extremes of summer and winter and how they effect the turf is what we are always trying to mitigate.

 Measures such as  changing the grass type, or adding sprinklers, or applying products to prevent disease, or slow growth, or coerce the plant into staying green, it goes on and on. Many times these measures are successful in providing more consistent & aesthetic playing surfaces, many times weather wins out. 

How weather effects the course is not an excuse we use for varying conditions, it's a reality and a part of the game's charm. Upcoming pictures highlight recent GBGC weather related events as well as some our our weather related planning tools highlighting how weather tracking and data  is important in the day to day planning of golf course maintenance operations that ultimately affect course conditions. 

The recent storm of 12/9/22 - 12/12/22 brought only 2-1/2" of rain but some pretty fierce winds that brought down this 100' Digger Pine to the right and below of the sixteenth green. Dan Becker reports it has been leaning progressively a little more every year towards Linda Creek below it. Couple pictures below one an idea of the scale of the tree. It fell in a tricky location and will take us some time to process it and get it removed. This is a great example of a weather event unexpectedly affecting the golf course maintenance operations.

Frost delays are not super charming, but a common weather related consequence in the winter months. We are experiencing  more freezing days this year then the past few winters.

Predicting Weather & Making Plans

None of us have to rely exclusively on local weather broadcasts any longer to get our weather forecasts and data  as all weather information and much more is available at our fingertips.  

Its a way of life in golf course maintenance to be looking at the 10 day forecast several times every day, particularly in the winter and the summer. Weather forecasts are one of the main planning tools we use to determine all sorts of tasks for  the upcoming day and week from frost delays in the winter  to hand watering in the summer. 

We also try to look at long range forecasts to get an idea of what might be coming a little farther down the road. I like the Weather West website authored by Daniel Swain. He doesn't post on his website or social media unless he sees a significant change, most of the time before any other forecasters.  Weather drives allot of  planning decisions in golf course maintenance, so attempting to stay ahead of it is helpful.

 Mr. Swain has gained notoriety most recently with his co-
authorship of the scientifically published Climate change is increasing the risk of a California megaflood.  

A synopsis of Mr. Swains  scholarly article entitled    Climate change makes catastrophic flood twice as likely contained this picture from the 1862 flood.

Most of us are aware of the ongoing California Drought and the how it effecting all of us. The  State Department of Water Resources is the clearing house for all data collected  about water in California, and frequently updates the many graphs like this one of Folsom Reservoir (FR). FR is the source of the water that we irrigate the golf course with and  as well supplies fresh water for most of the residences in the area. With the recent December rainfall, the current trend line is starting to make an upward turn towards normal. I look at this graph at this time of year as the reservoir starts to fill as it is lifeblood of our operation.

I also look at this Snow Accumulation chart  after storms to get an idea of the real water storage mechanism in State, which is snow in the mountains.  The overall  213% of normal through mid December is a good start, but we have a long way to go and if the past two water  seasons are harbingers, this snow could dissipate as quickly as it arrived. Lets hope that is not the case.

One big picture trend that seems to be continuing is the lower snow accumulation in the Northern Sierra which has the largest reservoir in the State, Shasta. The 5000 foot difference between the Trinity Mountain Range that feeds Shasta, versus the higher Sierra Nevada's that feed's Folsom  and many of the smaller reservoirs in the middle of the state, is making a big difference in snowpack  during the drier, warmer winters we have been experiencing.

Granite Bay Golf Club has a weather station pin high and to the left of  the #12 green and can collect  and store site specific weather data use for historic tracking, planning and calculating site specific Evapotranspiration Rate or ET used to calculate irrigation replacement. This chart shows the accumulation of  18 years of GBGC rainfall data. This GBGC rainfall data is only relevant for our purposes. Snow in the mountains, Folsom Reservoirs  level, long range prognostications from weather scientist's, all posses more relevant weather planning data. 

Another weather related app that we use is called Sun Seeker. This cell phone app is a solar tracking and a compass that is very helpful for golf course operators to help determine the scope of  tree pruning and thinning. The app is a good tool to sell the necessity of tree thinning and pruning. Trees admittedly are an integral part of a parkland style golf course such as Granite Bay,  but the shade cast by them is one of the main detriments to quality turf. 

Screenshot of the Sun Seeker app in use on #13 green.


I'm stating the obvious that weather plays a significant role in the game of golf. It drives golfers decisions to play or not to play and it's considerations play a part in everything we do in golf course maintenance.  We cant do anything to change the weather, but we can plan for it, and around it, both short and long term. I like the adage "plan your work and work your plan" at the same time "dont worry about what you dont have control of". 

The Weather Outside Is Frightful, But The Fire Is So Delightful....   Merry Christmas!