Wednesday, March 22, 2023

2023 Drainage Update #7

Wet weather just wont let go of us here at Granite Bay and is definitely the story of 2023 so far. Rainfall amounts over the past two weeks have pushed the 2022-2023 rain year into fourth wettest in the last eighteen. Almost 5" of rain in March which is not unusual but almost 2" over the eighteen year average of almost 3".

All of this rain keeps the golf course pretty wet and limits cart traffic as well as GCM progress on projects, however we have been able to react to fluctuating conditions and continue to make progress. below are some pictures of last weeks progress on fixing a drainage issue on the chipping green.

Updated rainfall accumulation data for the 2022-2023 rain year measured by our own GBGC weather station. March accumulation over the past week and a half has pushed the annual amount of rain to almost 31", making this rain season the fourth highest is eighteen years.

Any type of rainfall or even heavy irrigation would back up and hold on the chipping green and it needed to be repaired. This type of repair fit into a nice window between rain events last week.

First step was to remove the sod in front of and adjacent to the area that pooled up to relieve the "soil dam" that appeared after construction settling,  and do some minor grading to create a better opportunity for surface drainage.

As is sometimes the case, once the guys excavated the sod and started grading, we uncovered a band of native decomposed granite native soil that was damming up the surface flow that needed to be excavated. 

After excavating and grading the area in front of the green and actually under part of the putting surface sod itself, we installed a interceptor drain to catch any subsurface or surface water that naturally drains to the front low spot of any green.

This "interceptor" section of drainage in front of the green tied into a new section of drainage 
that the guys installed right through the newly shaped swale in front of the green.

The new main drain tied into a drainage inlet down below the entire main chipping level.

After the drainage work we replaced and tamped  the sod and applied some sand topdressing to the sod seems

Problem solved. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

2023 Drainage Update #6

Drainage work has been the topic of the winter on the golf course here at Granite Bay and for good reason. The historical rainfall average for our area is 24" per year, but in the last eighteen years we have only met or exceeded that average five times, including this year. The eighteen-year average is almost 19", so by both measurements the 2022 - 2023 rain season would be considered a "wet year".

Combine this with us basically working with a new golf course since our 2021 renovation & turf conversion, and it's easy to see that drainage work would become a priority. Additionally, if you consider the new sets of fairway bunkering on #12, which accentuated the "trough" topography of that hole, you can see why we have had to spend so much time on this hole alone. 

Below are more pictures highlighting the details from this week's progress on drainage, despite the weather.  Next week looks wet as well, but we hope to continue during a small window of opportunity late in the week by shifting gears from #12 to the chipping green where we have drainage issues to take care of as well. We will keep you appraised of our plans as the week and weather materializes.

The above chart shows actual rainfall data accumulated by GBGC's on site weather station. As you can see, we have only exceeded the regions historical average five times in eighteen years, got close to this average another two times, so seven out of the eighteen years we were near or over historical average. This does speak to averages in general but supports the notion of the new normal of drier winters, just not the one we are experiencing.

Wet conditions but clear skies allowed us to get started on the next section of drainage work on #12

We knew it was a bit risky to get started with the weather forecast we were looking at but took the risk and had to scramble to get gravel in the drainage ditches during a rainstorm.

Here is the drainage crew filling ditches in the rain on Wednesday. The crew finished up on Thursday ahead of rain that started in the afternoon right on schedule and contributed to overnight rainfall amounts of over 1.25".

Overhead view highlighting the lack of standing water in the area's that were addressed over the past two weeks after the 1.25"+ of rain on Thursday PM through early Friday AM. 

December picture of #12 during a rainstorm. The difference between then and now would be that when the rain stopped, our new drainage would remove the accumulated water quickly allowing the fairway to dry out more rapidly.

#12's drainage progress over mostly the month of February 2023. Over 1000' of drainage and still more to do at the beginning of the hole.

Liborio, Mauricio, Felipe under Enrique's leadership (L to R) are primarily responsible for this essential drainage work. 

Chipping Green Drainage

We need to do some drainage work on the chipping green as well, and next week could provide the opportune window to get this job done between storms. We will communicate through the Golf Shops morning e-mail if this window opens on Wednesday, and we decide to tackle it. The chipping area will have to be closed at a minimum while we are doing the work. More to come on this.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

2023 Drainage Update #5

I mentioned last week that it is not prudent  to conduct any type of earth disruption work during wet, rainy weather. I also mentioned that the forecast at that time was for rain almost all week, but that forecasts can change, and all we needed was a two-to-three-day window to continue our work. And that is exactly what transpired, allowing us to complete another 200' of drainage on #12 between storms. Below are pictures of the progress for those that are interested.

Forecast from last week did indeed change giving us the opportunity on Thursday & Friday to complete another 200' between the forward bunkers on #12. We actually made preparations by laying out plywood on Wednesday afternoon despite it being pretty wet after it rained all day the previous day.

The fairway was still wet after 2" of rain despite the window of clearing weather. 
We purchased 40 sheets of additional plywood so we wouldn't damage the turf,
which allowed us to not only work in the less-than-ideal wet conditions, but also
work in the frozen mornings that followed this last series of cold storms.

Enrique and crew laying the plywood out and cutting the sod  on Wednesday. 
the first clear day after recent  cold storms that started Friday 2/24/23 and ended
 Tuesday 2/28/23 producing 2" of rain.

Good visual of underground drainage install. This is a Y junction of 4" 
perforated pipe on a bedding of 1" found drain rock 

Above and below are good visuals of the DI (drainage inlet) tie-in and the beginning of the drain 
filled with gravel.

Sod re-installed over the gravel drainage pattern.

Overhead view of the two sections of drainage that was completed the past two weeks between rain storms.

Looks like we have a very similar pattern coming up next week as we did this week. If this pattern holds, we will go for another 200' of drainage on #12, middle of the week.

Friday, February 24, 2023

2023 Drainage Project Update #4

 We stayed on task this week with drainage work on #12 despite looming wet weather. As planned, we moved to the middle of #12 fairway and completed 200 feet of drainage ahead of incoming storms. Enrique & Liborio can complete 200 feet in two days as long as it is dry. This type of work, or any type of work in which bare soil is exposed is a nightmare when it gets rained on, so we watch the forecast and move very cautiously with impending rain. Enjoy the pictures below that tell the story of drainage progress this past week. 

We got started Monday as planned to beat the weather forecast. Step #1 is remove the sod and start excavating the soil for pipe and gravel installation.

Step #2 install 4" perforated drain pipe, tie it into sub surface drainage system, and fill the ditch with drain gravel.

Step #3  replace the sod and sand topdress. 200' in 2 days. We will still need another week or more on #12.

Looks like drainage progress will get stalled next week, however weather forecasts are fickle and if we have a 2 day opportunity, we'll install another 200'

Poa - The Battle Begins

Poa Annua, or annual bluegrass is a common weed or  desirable grass depending on your perspective. Prior to our 2021 renovation our greens were a combination of Bentgrass and Poa Annua, and in 2021 during our renovation we resurfaced and seeded our greens to Dominator Creeping Bentgrass. I'll for sure be addressing the subject of Poa in these course updates from time to time, explaining our efforts and strategies to keep our new bentgrass greens free of it. 

We currently have more tools and treatments to help with Poa Annua encroachment then we had in the 1990's and there are more coming to market in California soon we hope. We will use everything at our disposal including most importantly over 40 years of hard knock experience understanding that this will be the fight of our lives and will only last forever. Every strategy from fertility and cultural practices, to irrigation and surface performance management will be evaluated through the lens of preventing Poa encroachment. 

Below are some pictures of a sweep we made earlier this week on our greens to hand pick small Poa Annua plants which is a common early strategy for new Bentgrass Greens. Treating every square inch of the surfaces is not necessary at this point when we can simply mechanically remove it while training our greenskeepers to identify and remove when the plants are small, which will be one of the ongoing strategies for the rest of our days. Below are some pictures of our "Poa Sweep" this week.

This plant was actually in the step collar but is a good example of a Poa Annua plant in Bentgrass.

Here we are using an ice pick to surround the margins of the poa plant and dig it out by the roots.

The extracted Poa plant.

Closing up the scar with a ball mark repair tool.

Adding a sand & Dominator Bentgrass seed mixture to the repaired scar.

Closeup of the finished product.

Thanks for Your Support. The Best is Yet to Come!

Friday, February 17, 2023

2023 Drainage Project Update #3

Continued work on #12 is full steam ahead this week as we are digging the necessary drainage in the area we started last week and preparing it for sod. Just in front of the  newly sodded area between the bunkers on the left hand side of the hole is a drainage inlet (DI's) or catch basin. At GBGC most of these these DI's are part of the original drainage system that are are typically located in low spots and swales, They are designed  to capture and remove surface water over the top of the turf and remove it through the underground drainage system. These are also our point of connection for the surface drainage work we are currently undertaking which really just helps that surface water get into that sub-surface drainage system much more rapidly. 

This drainage inlet and its exit pipe was compromised during the rush of construction, so we hade to spend a fair amount of time repairing and making it functional. By end of day Friday we will have re-sodded the section between the front bunkers we stripped and repaired last week, and added drainage this week. Additionally we will have repaired the drainage inlet and exit that all of this new drainage is connected too. Next week we will start right up the middle of #12. Enjoy some pictures of this weeks progress and next weeks plans.

Above shows the drainage inlet that was mentioned above. These are the tie-ins for gravel / french drains. Obviously if the exit drains are compromised the gravel drains attached to them wont function as designed.

Above depicts the initial work in fixing the drainage inlet. Ultimately Enrique and his crew had to install another exit line into the new pond.

Here is the same area after Enrique and crew put everything back together again.

Good overhead after everything was completed in the area. Two weeks of work to cleanup one of the most pressing loose ends from 2021. The area is roped off  to keep carts out and painted as GUR. The new  Santa Anna Sod that we purchased is substantially browner then our existing 1.5 year old fairway turf but will root down and establish once it warms up. This area will have restricted cart use until it is firmly established. Don't expect to drive through there until early summer and we will be GUR until the area greens up this spring. 

Adjacent to where we were teeing off this week on #12 is where  we will be working next week on drainage work through the middle of the fairway.

Tee markers for the upcoming week will be in this location about 170 yards out.

Above are the temporary posting details Mike Nicoletti worked out while we are in this location working on drainage. We will start on Monday which is a holiday and open for member play, however we have forecasted weather this week that could stall progress, so we plan to take advantage of weather conducive to drainage work while we can.

After #12 we plan to tackle this nagging wet spot in #2. As most of you know it is a relatively small spot but right in the landing area and has never really been right. We'll spend a whole week or whatever it takes, in this area if wee need to to get it right

Some Welcome New Members

If you have been out at the club recently you might have noticed a pair of Swans. I have read they will stay in a location as long there is a food supply and they dont feel threatened. They are likely sheltering on one of the islands in the main irrigation pond between #1 & #9 and perhaps nesting. The new Swans are not part of our goose hazing efforts, so the dogs will not harass them, and I've  heard Swans themselves can be decent goose hazers,  although I see no evidence of that currently. They are pretty, and if they can help with the geese control they are welcome here. Great article on Swans is linked below.

AZ Animals - Swan (cygnus atractus)

Granite Bay Swans

Monday, February 13, 2023

2023 Drainage Project Update #2

We moved to #12 fairway last week with our ongoing drainage work which encompasses a little more than just drainage work here.  The section of fairway preceding and between the first set of bunkers on this hole has never grown in properly from renovation in 2021. This was partially due to this fairway being the last fairway to be sprigged on the last day of August 2021, which is very late to grow-in sprigs. Additionally there were some deep bull dozer scrapes right down to the decomposing rock in the area which removed topsoil (sake of a better term) that was developed over 20 years, to shape the new bunkers.

Admittedly it was a rush job to beat the clock in a fairway spot that is a tight choke point, channeling all foot and vehicle traffic through an area of only 5000 square foot tops. GCM assumed we would have to re-visit this area, and our first full season proved this assumption correct. This area is one of the larger loose ends that need's to be tied-off. 

The area also needs drainage work, and it doesn't make sense to fix one portion of the problem here and not fix the other. And it makes the most sense to get the grade and soil right in the area first, then follow up with the drainage. And that is exactly what we started last  week and have provided some progress pictures below for those who are interested. 


Above shows the area we are talking about, between the first bunkers on #12. The heavy grey line depicts the area that we stripped and moved what sod was viable, then removed the rest and in
truckloads to our nursery area, All of the Bermuda sprigs in these truckloads will establish rapidly this summer providing us with sod for future use. The heavy lime green lines represent the main drain lines and the skinny tan lines lateral lines. This picture also shows the irrigation lines that we have to work around and make sure we don't hit 
them with the digging equipment.

The soil in this area it not nearly as good as it perhaps appears in this picture.
Picture shows we have already stripped out and moved most of the viable sod to the sod nursery.
What remains a combination of Bermuda plants or sprigs, topdressing sand and soil.
After relocating the sprig / soil piles, we actually went to the hard DG areas and dug them out and removed that soil as well. 

Both above and below depict the crew hauling and spreading sand and compost to replace the removed DG, readying the area for rototilling.

After spreading the compost and sand we incorporated those amendments 
into the top 6" the creating a good root zone mix for the re-sodding to come.

Complete root-zone and general grade modification. Awaiting phase two of this area for next week.

The Best is Yet to Come !