Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Wet February

 The Water Year in California is a "12 month period that extends from October 1st to September 30th." "The water year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends." "The current water year is 2024." "In the current water year, the greater Sacramento region has received:

76% of Average Rainfall

41% of the Average Snowfall

0.5% F  Warmer, Daily on Average

Weather data collected here at GBGC tells a slightly different story particularly for the month of February 2024. Through Tuesday 2/20/2024 we have measured a total 5.72" for the month which will make February 2024's accumulation the 4th highest in 19 years of data collection from the GBGC weather station. More importantly then the rain accumulation amounts were the number of rain days and cloudy days in between. We have measured rain on 13 days in the first 20 days of February and 17 days of the 31 in January. So 30 of the last 51 days of 2024 we have measured rain and there have have been very few sunny days in between.

Our record of 19 years of rainfall accumulation measured by the GBGC weather station. 2024 accumulation through 20 days of February ranks 4th in 19 years.

2024's daily records confirm 30 days of rain measured in the years first 51 days.

So our total YTD water year accumulation is less then the historic average of 24",  but the last 50 days have been wet and cloudy and have created wetter then desirable playing conditions. It has always taken 5 consecutive days of clear weather for the golf course to dry out enough after rain events to allow carts onto the golf course, a big satisfaction matrix for course dryness. Unfortunately,  we have  not had those blocks of clear, sunny and hopefully windy days to dry the golf course out yet in 2024. Hopefully the remainder of this week will start that drying trend, however it is still February.

Mid morning on Wednesday 2/21/24 following a 6 out of 7 day stretch where rainfall was measured. Hoping the sun will persist and dry the golf course out.

We will continue to install surface drainage and sand topdress in season which will help when we experience these wet sort of winters. Additionally repairs to specific bad areas such as #2 fairway exit that we recently completed will continue and will help as well. The flipside to the rain the entire State has been receiving in January & February and golf course conditions is  the refreshing of reservoirs and snow crucial for the big picture, irrigation in the summer. Not nearly the abundant water year of 2023, but the last two months are helping to catch-up from a slow start to the water year of 2024. CA current water storage and snow accumulation data below.

Folsom Reservoir from which GBGC's irrigation water originates is in decent shape thanks mostly to record rainfall in water year 2023, but recent storms have contributed to recent gains.

The best water storage for CA has always been in the mountains in the form of snow. 2024 was slow to start with snow but experiencing a little better finish.

Like Folsom, many of our big reservoirs throughout the State are still in decent shape from the  record rain and snowfall  from water year 2023. It will be interesting to see if Shasta & Oroville will fill once the snow starts melting as well as of course, Folsom.


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

February Storm

 As many of us are aware, a Powerful Winter Storm hit California Sunday 2/4/24 causing a substantial amount of damage state wide. Very strong winds caused the downing of trees again here at the course for the second year in a row. We lost 30 trees between mid December & mid January 2022-2023. 

We lost another 20+ trees this time where we  measured 50-60 MPH gusts.  Most of the downed trees were out of play in native areas or walnut shell areas. The only structural damage we experienced was a tree that went over onto the short netting on the left-hand side of the driving range. Wet conditions dident help as we have measured over 3" of rain in the 3 days since 2/1/24. It took us over 4 weeks last year to process and clean up after 30 trees, it will take us at least a couple of weeks to clean up these 20+. Some pictures below.

#18 left-hand side cart path

Further down on #18, closer to green, left-hand side of cart path.

Another on the left-hand side of #18. This one across the left hand driving range net.

Two pretty good sized live oaks in the native area between #11 tee & #12 fairway

This is at the #15 side of the bridge below the tee. Half of it came down last year.

Left - hand side of #16 near the cart path below the green.

#6 tee across the cobble stone wall 

Above is a good representation of the 20+ total that are down. We spent all day yesterday, Monday 2/5/24 doing basic cleanup and clearing cart paths so we all can get around the course on Tuesday. Again, I estimate it will take us a couple of weeks to clean all of this up along with routine maintenance. 

Thanks for your Support!

Sunday, February 4, 2024

#2 Fairway Exit.

We just completed improvement to an area on the second hole that has been historically challenged and long overdue for repair. This area is on the right-hand side of #2 about 135 yards out, adjacent to the cart-path, and an ideal drive-off area for cart traffic due to its proximity to the path. If you don't recognize the area from the prior description, you will recognize it from the pictures below and agree it was one of the worst turf areas on the course since practically day one. Turf in the area struggled from the same common decomposed granite & clay soils that we struggle with throughout the course as well as shade issues and compaction which is a bad combination. Below are pictures that tell the improvement story. 

Above depicts the before image of the aforementioned historically bad area on the right-hand side of #2 along the cart path. This area is a natural drive-off area for carts and has never been good. Its condition is particularly bad in the winter months as the sun hides behind the trees running up the right-hand side of the hole most of the day. Historically the area will get a little better in the spring when the turf fill's in as the days get longer and the sun is higher. But once we start to use the area to exit the hole with cart traffic it gets thin and bad rapidly and the cycle begins anew. 

Circled in red is the specific area addressed and is part of our Master Improvement Plan which now will earn a big red checkmark near this section as we have completed at least this part of the work on the right-hand side of this hole.

Step #1. We did some tree pruning and thinning. Allowing more sunlight into this area year-round will be an on-going need and critical to this areas or any turfgrass areas success.

Step #2. Remove the sod. Very little of this sod was salvageable. We sod cut the area and removed it with the excavator.

More of the crew removing the piled-up sod.

Step #3. Excavating 4" of native soil. Shade and soil were the main things we needed to mitigate if we are to have successful turf in the area.

The entire area scrapped clean after excavating 4" of native soil. 

Step #4. Installing drainage. Above depicts just part of the drainage pattern we installed in the area.

At the upper edge of the cavity, we installed drainage chambers which we hope will aid in removing sheeting water coming off of the fairway slope which tended to settle in the lower area along the cart path. 

To ensure a clear flow of drainage water from the areas new drainage system, we wanted to establish an independent drainage line which meant coming across the cart path providing us with a decisive way to monitor drainage flows. 

Step #5. Filling the drainage lines with gravel.

We estimate we removed over 100 tons of soil from the area and temporarily stockpiled it in the open area between #2 & #12. We have future plans for this soil.

Step #6. Filling the cavity with sand. This will be one of the keys to this area's success. We added 100 tons or 80 yards of tee sand to the area along with another 20 tons of gravel for the drainage ditches.

Step #7. Finish grade and compaction. The planning of this project has been ongoing for some time, but the execution happened rather rapidly between rainstorms. We stripped the sod and dug out 4" of soil on Monday 1/29 with no rain, dug and installed drainage on Tuesday 1/30 and moved 100 tons of washed tee sand into the area on Wednesday 1/31 just before 1.25" of rain that fell Wednesday afternoon into the evening and all-day Thursday 2/1. Friday 2/2, in between and during another .50" storm, we installed the sod.

Step #8. 6000 square feet of sod installed. We had a bit of time to do some fine grading before sod arrived on Friday AM. The sand base was very firm under foot and there was no standing water due to the new sand base and all of the preparation and drainage that was installed.

And here is the finished product. Despite the tree thinning we did in the area that will ultimately contribute to the area's success, there will still always be some shade issues to contend with. This led us to the choice of sodding with Tahoma 31 Hybrid Bermuda. "In up to 63% shade, Tahoma 31 Hybrid Bermuda is ranked #1 amongst other popular bermudas". We will soon be sodding around the tree on #10 which struggles with shade related issues with Tahoma 31 as well. It should blend very well with our Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda and hopefully show to be a great option and companion for some of our fairway edge areas near trees that struggle particularly in the winter months from shade issues.

In the upcoming weeks we plan to address the area on the other side of the cart path from the area we just addressed on #2. Although the area is somewhat out of play, it gets allot of activity by all skill levels and when we are done, you'll still have trees to navigate but an improved lie and better ability to locate your ball and punch out. More to come.

Thanks for your support!

Friday, January 19, 2024

#5 Drainage Work

The El Nino weather pattern situated out in the pacific has not brought the kind of rain amounts these patterns historically can bring, but it has brought enough rain days and associated cloud cover to keep the course wet since the holidays. So much so that the front left-hand portion of the #5 fairway is so wet that we need to address the situation with surface drainage. And we are in the process of doing so this week. 

It is always better to do this kind of work when it is dry but this section of fairway has gotten so bad we  couldn't ignore it and wait for the weather to change. We started installing over 500' of drainage on Tuesday 1/16/24 the day after the MLK Holiday when we were closed. Wednesday 1/17/24 through Friday 1/19/24 we have the tee markers moved forward the the right hand side of the fairway near the fairway bunker about 160 yards out. Tee markers will be returned to their normal position's on Friday afternoon 1/19/24. The area will continue to be ground under repair as it recovers from the process and the new drainage starts to dry the area out. 

Above is a page from our Master Improvement plan depicting the drainage work currently under way on #5

Here is the beginnings of this work showing sod removed in the drainage pattern, plywood down and  in process trenching of the drain lines. Following steps are to remove the excavated soil, bed the bottom of the trenches with gravel, install 4" perforated drain pipe, fill the drainage ditches with  gravel then replace the sod and topdress with sand.

The drainage explained above will be tied into our sub-surface drainage system which can be identified throughout the course drainage inlets (DI's) depicted above. The subsurface drainage system can then discharge the collected water into this case our irrigation pond. 

Here we are on Thursday afternoon replacing the sod onto the completed drainage pattern.

Fairway Color

We switched our fairway turf from a jumbled mix of cool season turf varieties to a single variety of warm season Santa Anna  hybrid bermuda in 2021 as most everyone who reads these course updates knows. The conversion was made for summer conditions knowing full well the downsides of hybrid bermuda being it goes dormant in the winter. And when hybrid bermuda goes dormant, it stops growing and typically turns brown. We cannot do anything to make the turf grow in the winter, but have been successful in keeping some color to it this year so far. 

This picture of #9 was taken last week on Thursday 1/11/24. Fairway color is pretty good due to our ability to treat the fairways with pigment and iron every other week starting in October. Last year we were unable to keep up that treatment frequency because we measured  over 23" of rain in November - January, and the same time period so far this year we have measured only 5.0"

Here we are applying the pigment / iron mix to the fairways. Turfgrass pigment is different then paint as it works well on plants that still have some chlorophyll, or green color within the tissue. Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda is known for holding onto its color longer into the season and coming out of dormancy sooner they other varieties of hybrid bermuda. This is why I believe the pigment works especially well on the Santa Anna.  

Winter of 2023 vs. Winter of 2024 

In the 50 day period of December 2022 and January 19 2023 we measured 21" of rain transpiring over 27 days (55%). Comparing the same time period this season, we have measured 4.54" happening over 20 days (41%). All of the rain this year has been little 1/10" or maximum 1/4" events with allot of cloudy dreary days between them which makes the golf course just as wet as the large rain events we experienced last season. 

As golfers, I'm certain you follow the weather as closely as we do and know that our current wet conditions are not going to dry out anytime soon. 2.5" forecasted Friday night through Monday.

As wet conditions make for challenging golf, they also make it very challenging to maintain the golf course. I mentioned above the hybrid bermuda fairways are not actively growing, but they still need to get cleaned up from divot and goose remnants, leaves etc., and when it is wet as the course is now we cannot get blowers, sweepers or larger mowers out there. Above depicts us mowing fairways with a smaller, lighter triplex mower to get them cleaned up.


The  2023 Drainage Work that we completed last year has worked well this year but more work needs to be done as evidenced by what we are doing this week on #5 and the current wet conditions that still persist in rainy weather. On a year around golf course in a true transition zone like Granite Bay it is challenging to be good every season of the year, but we'll keep on making the improvements to help us get closer to that goal.

The Best Is Yet To Come ! Thank you for your Support

Saturday, December 9, 2023

#5 Green Damage

 During the evening hours of Tuesday 12/5/23 we unfortunately experienced vehicle damage on our #5 green. Tire tracks leading onto and off of the green were leading in the direction of our front gate so we suspect the damage must have occurred sometime before we closed and locked the gates. By examining the "drifting" pattern of the damage, we suspect the vandalism was made by a electric Drift Trike, which is three wheel tricycle, often battery powered and commonly outfitted  with wide rear tires. We are fairly certain the damage was not made with a golf cart or a motor vehicle. Below are some images of the damage and ongoing repairs. 

Damage was located mostly on the left side of the green.

We are fortunate that a turf nursery was installed during our 2021 renovation in the out of play area to the right of #1, between #10 & #11. We have a large nursery green over there that is maintained identically to the regulation greens that we can use sod from for repairing damaged areas. Above depicts repair of some of the erratic damage from Tuesday evening.

Damage was sand topdressed while we are tediously repairing the worst areas to help with putting across the damage. The greens are not actively growing at this time of the year which makes recovery challenging.

As the damage was located on the left-hand side of the green, we will be utilizing the right-hand side for pin placement until the damage is recovered. 

Tree Pruning #10

On Monday 12/4/23 we had some crown thinning tree work done on the large blue oak on #10. The purpose of the thinning was twofold, to lighten the load this very important tree was carrying and to allow for more sunlight to reach the golf playing surface below it. The sod on the left-hand side of this tree has never filled in from the 2021 sprigging. Root competition from the tree itself is surely playing a part in the poor turf conditions, but the main culprit is the trees associated shade to the area. Soon we will be stripping out the Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda there and replacing it with another variety called Tahoma 31 Hybrid Bermuda. Tahoma 31 is ranked among the best bermuda grasses for shade tolerance in all of the hybrid bermuda's. It is locally available and will blend in well with our Santa Anna fairways. We are looking forward to seeing how it performs under this tree.

Selective pruning in process on Monday 12/5/23 to  this all-important tree that splits the fairway on #10

And here is the area below and to the left of the same tree. The split landing area is narrow on both side of the tree so surrounding it with a more shade tolerant cool season rough is not an option. Hopefully the more shade tolerant Tahoma 31 along with some soil conditioning will be a suitable solution.

Winters Coming

We are two weeks away from the Winter Solstice on Friday December 22, 2023. This is the shortest day of the year and every subsequent day will get longer, not necessarily warmer right away as it takes time for the earth to warm up. As of this course update we still haven't seen the rain frequently associated with a El Nino year however some of our rainiest months still lie ahead of us.

I don't know about you, but it seems like we move from one season to the next fairly rapidly nowadays. And this game that we play and work on is a living, breathing evolving playing surface, that flourishes and is challenged by the contrast in seasons and associated weather.  But it's really much more. Granite Bay is a magical place. An Oak Woodland, a habitat for numerous animal and bird species, a business that employees hundreds of people and of course a sanctuary & home away from home for hundreds more. And the approaching Winter Solstice will lead to warmer times, then hotter times then temperate times in what seems to be a rapid succession. I think we are all fortunate to be a part of this place in the world which is cold and wet and hot and dry and beautiful all at the same time.

Thank You for your continued support. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

When Autumn Leaves Start To Fall

 Another consequence of the record rainfall we experienced with last winters rain season and the associated deep soaking of the native soils, was a continued healthy response from our Oak Trees. This is a welcome result, as years of drought have taken their toll on these trees. Combine this with the nice fall weather we have been having and the Oak's are holding onto their leaves a little longer then certainly the recent past. That's all about to change as temperature's continue to decline and  the inevitable rainy and stormy weather starts to transpire.

We are coming up on December and these Blue Oaks continue to hold on to their leaves.

These tow behind turbine blowers are used quite a bit in our daily operations but never as much as in the fall when the leaves start to come down. The task of removing them from the course is not without its challenges as we get reminded every year by a phone call from sleep deprived neighbors that sound carries farther on cold mornings then it does when the temperatures are warmer. This puts us in a bind as we can't get started with the loud blowers and sweepers prior to 7:00 AM October through April. 

Excerpt from the Placer County noise ordinance.

We are blessed with two each of sweeper and turbine blower so we can get some leaves picked up, but will inevitably need to work around member play. Wet weather stalls this process as well as this equipment is heavy and can do some real damage when it is wet. GCM personnel are trained to bounce around to stay productive and out of Members way but there will be times when coexistence will be essential.

Continued Progress Members Green #17

Between normal maintenance practices we have been working at new Members Green near #17 tee. The installation of this green during our renovation in 2021 left many loose ends to take care of, which we started on last year at this time but had to readdress our efforts to tree cleanup and drainage installation following a series of intense winter storms. We now have made some good progress on the area by cleaning up existing trees and exposing rock formations. Additionally, we have been adding some irrigation, re-grading the DG cart path that used to service the Tournament tees on #15 as well as some drainage & sod repair in the area. We still have some good neighbor tree planting to do and further cart path work putting the finishing touches on this area making it much more inviting to get away from the flurry of activity at the Clubhouse and peacefully practice. 

We always look forward to the Fall & Winter season that allows for more non-routine activities. It's rewarding to expose the natural rock formations associated with our golf course evidenced by the native area across the cart path behind #14 green. This area is associated with the area near the new Member Green and Native area on the left-hand side of #17.

Here is the re-purposed path we built years ago the lead up to the old #15 Tournament Tees. Next, we need to install drainage to mitigate rain washouts and add a turn around and parking area at the top of the hill which will service both #15 Tournament Tees and the Turkey Cove Members Green.
We have been working in this area for a while as the work is time consuming and has the same noise restrictions mentioned above.

As we work our way up the left-hand side of #17 we will soon be at Volcano Ridge behind #17 Green.

Happing Thanksgiving!