Friday, November 18, 2022

Fairway Drainage & Traffic Control

 Fairway Drainage

Last week we received 1.5" of much needed rainfall here at GBGC and lets hope we get more as we move into the rainy season here on the west coast. The amount of rain in a short period time exposed some drainage patterns on the golf course that needed immediate attention, namely the very front portion of #4 fairway. There are, and will be other areas that will need surface drainage installed which is very normal for new fairways that have undergone the renovation and turf conversion ours have. 

Trenching for drainage on Monday 11/14/22. We trenched and installed 300' of surface drainage which involves trenching a 12"- 6" deep trench,  6" wide, remove the soil, add 1"-2" gravel, install 4" perforated drainage pipe tied into existing sub surface drainage system, bury with gravel 1" from top of trench, add sand to top, replace removed sod.

We dont point out enough one of the main issues with all turf at Granite Bay is we are growing grass on top of, in many cases, a decomposing rock. This photo illustrated this realty. The white area is a granite rock that we had to saw through to install the drainage. These type of conditions exist through the soil profile here at Granite Bay.

The finished product after sod replacement and some sand topdressing. Members playing the course had some fun with this drainage work as well as we dident quite finish the 300' of drainage on Monday, so we moved all tee blocks forward 100 yards onto a flat spot in the fairway on Tuesday and Wednesday  so we could finish the work and stay out of everyone's way.

Traffic Control

I know we all wish it were not so, but  reality is golf cart traffic  is hard on a golf course. Therefore is is incumbent on golf course maintenance to develop and execute a golf course traffic control plan that fits the club and protects the turf. Our goal is to elevate our current traffic control protocols in the coming months so we can further protect the course from golf cart traffic.

I would like to thank all of the members who are diligent in following the cart traffic rules we have in place such as entering and exiting through the traffic gates and staying on the cart paths when the hole is closed. During the recent seeding of the course we used signs indicating holes that were cart path only with very good success. Most members and guest abided by the restrictions and we had a successful rough seeding in part because of it. 

Restricting cart traffic on two holes for a week at a time is a traffic control measure we have contemplated doing for quite awhile. We started this past week with cart path only restrictions on #'4 & #17 using the multiple sign approach used for seeding to inform players.  Par 3's are a no cart traffic zone already, so by  adding the additional two holes, members will be able to use carts on twelve holes on the course at any given time and theoretically every par 4 & 5 hole will get a break from cart traffic for one week out of six. The plan is to restrict cart traffic on one hole on the front nine, and one hole on the back nine for a week then rotate to two more the following week. We'll see how it goes.

We are committed to the 2 hole rotating cart traffic closures using multiple signs along paths to inform members, therefore will be updating our signage in the near future.

Ropes and stakes are a big part of traffic control. Additional changes in the traffic control arena is we are gravitating toward these 12" stakes rather then the 18" previously used. 

Gates for entering and exiting the the golf hole will still be used.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Overseeding & Irrigation

Driving Range Tee Overseeding

After a rainy beginning of the week we were able to overseed the driving range tee on Thursday 11/10/22 as planned. As I mentioned in the previous course update, we are a little late in getting seed down on this tee and it will take some time, likely several weeks, before we can use it again. If we opted not to overseed this tee, we would not be using it again until the Hybrid Bermuda came out of dormancy and filled in voids in the spring. This overseeding will give us the option of using the tee to some extent this winter, however until it is ready we will be on mats. 

We plan to transition out the cool season overseed in the  late spring / early summer months allowing the Hybrid Bermuda base to excel without competition all summer and fall.

GCM spreading seed on the prepared Driving Range tee on Thursday morning 11/10/22.

Sand topdressing on top of the seed

Dragging in the sand topdressing

Supplemental Irrigation Install Begins

I have mentioned on several occasions in our course updates recently about the crucial need for irrigation infrastructure that can irrigate our new Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda Fairways independently of our new Tall Fescue Rough. We started this week on what will be the long process of this retrofitting our current irrigation system to accomplish this necessity. I'm going to write and talk allot about this process as we proceed, as it is critical to our success moving forward. Until then, a few pictures are worth a thousand words.

The first dirt to be moved in what will be a lengthy endeavor to retrofit our irrigation system with the ability to deliver the very different irrigation needs of our cool season Fescue and warm season Hybrid Bermuda as independently as possible. We started here on the bunker of #8 because it is one of the worst areas on the course where the Fescue adjacent to  the steep banks of the bunker faces orientated to the southwest really struggle in the summer. If we irrigated to meet the demands of the Fescue around the bunker, the Hybrid Bermuda around the area will get soft which is one of the main reasons we changed to Hybrid Bermuda, namely firm playing conditions and water savings. 

Its allot of work to add a dozen or so little pop-up sprinklers to an area, but it will be worth it. Above picture depicts the scale of this work well after layout and trenching. However by Friday you'll hardly be able to tell we were there. Prior to the 2021 renovation we did have small pop-up heads around the bunkers that were removed during construction of the new bunkers last summer. The nature and pace of the project dident allow for these small sprinkler's to be replaced at that time, although we knew we would have to at some point, so here we are. Again this is just the beginning of this retrofit.


After trenching and plumbing new irrigation lines it is important to compact the soil so there no settling under the sod. 

Above depicts a trench section that has already been compacted over the new plumbing, fine graded and ready for sod replacement

End result is is a pop-up sprinkler that will add supplemental irrigation to the steep cool season Fescue banks independent of the irrigation heads watering  the adjacent Hybrid Bermuda. The big "golf course" sprinklers that water the large scale areas will still apply  irrigation to these Fescue areas, but these new pop-ups will add extra water to an area that needs extra water. This allows us to reduce the time of  irrigation with the big heads keeping the Hybrid Bermuda drier, firmer and happier, and supplement  extra irrigation where it is needed on these steep cool season Fescue banks with these pop-ups.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Overseeding Tee's

Our teeing surfaces have a base of Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda on them,  just like the fairways, including the driving range tee. The Hybrid Bermuda growth habits have already started to slow down with the advent of fall and will continue to do so as we transition into winter. Our plan is to never  overseed the fairways as dormant bermuda can be a very good playing surface. We have some things we can do to keep the fairways aesthetically green, however at some point the recovery of divots and growth in general will cease altogether until the hybrid wakes up again in the spring.

The decision to not overseed fairways  is becoming very common on warm season golf courses for a multitude of reasons. But for our tees at Granite Bay, its not really an option, because of the overall size of our teeing areas and the activity they get all winter long. 

The new tees on the golf course were overseeded last year but we did not overseed the driving range tee because of its youth at the time. Last week we overseeded the golf course tees on Monday 10/24/22 which is a little late in the season. However we did not overseed the driving range tee because of Jones Cup the following week on 11/3 through 11/4.

Even though it is even later for the driving range tee, we plan to overseed it this coming week of November 7. Unfortunately, or  fortunately depending how you look at it, we have rain forecasted for  Monday 11/7/22 when we are closed, so will likely not be able to do the work then. Next forecasted clear day is Thursday 11/10 so we will tenitively plan to overseed the tee that morning.

 Bottom line, timing of the driving range tee overseeding will be weather dependent and we will do it at the very next opportunity as time is of the essence. We will communicate through the golf shop morning e-mail the precise morning we plan on doing the overseeding. Range will be closed the morning of overseeding and we will be using mats until the new seed establishes properly which will take a bit longer then if we were to have overseeded in early October. 

Driving range tee picture taken in the morning on 11/3/22. Color is still good but the turf is not recovering from use as the days of fall are much shorter and temperature's are much cooler.

Close-up of the divot patterns which are not recovering. If we have any hope of using the tee this winter we have not choice but to overseed it. And because we are doing the overseeding process late. we likely wont get on it to use  the grass until sometime in December. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Tall Fescue Rough Establishing Nicely

 It seems a little longer, but it was just  a little over a month ago that we started aggressively aerifying our primary rough followed by a substantial seeding of the areas with Tall Fescue. The seeding process was a great success as we experienced rapid germination and establishment throughout the golf course. Thanks for enduring cart restrictions & ropes & signs & and wetter then ideal conditions. These restraints and nuisance's were necessary to achieve the results we are currently watching unfold before our eyes. 

Cooler weather is on the horizon which will allow us to further cut  back the irrigation on these new seedlings. The most mature seedlings are just  twenty days old on the front nine and just two weeks old on the back nine. Therefore we are still going to ask cart operators to use the gates to enter and exit the golf holes and when driving on the hole we'll ask that you drive on the fairway turf only. This will go a long way to helping this turf establish and mature further. 

On Monday 10/24/22 we will be overseeding the tee tops. We are not planning on an aggressive procedure so the only thing members will notice this week is a little extra sand. Next week and beyond you will notice the new fresh seedlings, which will be the turf we will be teeing off of all winter long.

Enjoy some current pictures below and thanks again for your efforts in helping get our primary rough recovered from summer setbacks. 

A lot of fescue seed was sliced into established rough which we will continue for the next few Septembers & Octobers in an attempt to convert all of our rough into a more heat and drought tolerant tall fescue stand of turf. 

tall fescue coming up in the bank behind #4 tee. This fescue was seeded into a hybrid bermuda bank  so we will see how the two co-exist. 

We aggressively seeded the rough edge just adjacent to the fairway line to give us really good definition for winter. The new hybrid bermuda fairways will change and start to go into dormancy  the further we go into winter. We do plan to apply iron and pigments, not paint, which will  keep them a green color. The very defined contrast of bright green rough next to the olive green will be much better this year compared to last because of this focused seeding

I've been writing so much about the seeding of the rough as of late, I neglected to mention we raised the height of cut on the fairways in preparation for winter several weeks ago. This is a best management practice on hybrid bermuda providing a much better surface for winter play. If you continue to mow the hybrid bermuda at low heights and cold weather arrives, and the hybrid bermuda stops growing, we can run the risk of of thin and bare turf areas all winter long until the growing season starts again and the hybrid can grow out of it. Granted, you'll get not as much roll in October but something to play off  of in January & February.

Close-up of the higher height of cut, only 1+ year old Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda.

Another look at the hybrid bermuda with a raised height of cut.

#3 Tee after overseeding and watering in  of the associated seed and topdressing.

Close-up of the tee turf on #3 Tee after overseeding and topdressing. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

New Seed is Coming Up

We completed the seeding of the primary rough on the golf course last week. Front 9 seed is all coming in nicely and we will start to back off the irrigation accordingly. Back 9 seed is still germinating. Cart path only restrictions remain on holes #2, 6, 8 on the front side and #’s 10 & 17 on the backside. Enter and exit the fairways through the clearly marked gates on the rest of the holes and please drive carts in fairways only, not in the newly seeded rough. 

Overseeding / interseeding turf is tricky in the presence of golfers as seed germination requires allot of irrigation that contributes to non seeded areas over saturation.  In our specific case this year, we are trying to keep the fairways as dry as possible while keeping the newly seeded rough and surrounds adequately irrigated to germinate and establish seed which adds to the trickiness, as many of the same irrigation heads on the edges of fairways irrigate both fairway areas as well as rough areas. I'm sure it can be frustrating for  uninformed members who are not necessarily paying attention to our communications, and what we are doing, that areas of the golf course are wetter then they obviously need to be. However our main focus right now is all about the 10 tons of seed we just put into the golf course rough and getting it  germinated & established. 

We are on the right track and doing the right things to this golf course for the very near as well as remote future. Converting our primary playing surfaces from cool season hodgepodge of turf to Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda was the right thing to do. Introducing Tall Fescue,  a better more heat and drought tolerant variety of cool season turf into our primary rough is the right thing to do. And getting started on adding supplemental sprinklers to these rough areas to irrigate them independently of the new hybrid bermuda fairways is the right thing as well. I'll be sharing allot more about that in November when we commence.

Above is a  copy of a irrigation map on #10  illustrating the challenges of trying to irrigate cool season rough independently of our new  warm season fairways hybrid bermuda fairways, both of which have different irrigation needs. In this illustration, irrigation sprinkler heads marked 10F1 &10F2 contribute to both the irrigation of the rough and fairway. 

The tall slender blades are Tall Fescue seedlings that were overseeded into the prepared hybrid bermuda tee surround of #4 tee. The bermuda was aerated then scalped down to give the fescue a chance to get up without competition. Weather has been conducive to hybrid bermuda recovering from the preparation, but as this picture illustrates the fescue is up above  the hybrid bermuda and will continue to establish all fall and winter long. The hybrid will eventually slow way down giving this Fescue a chance to establish and the two to co-exist next summer. Our goal is to continue refreshing the fescue every fall in areas like this so all the rough has a tied in similar appearance year round to the rest of our rough. 

#4 Tee, same area as above close-up. We couldn't keep the Santa Anna completely tamed with this very warm, unseasonable October weather, but much of what appears here is tall fescue seedlings, only seeded 14 days prior. 

Shady area running up the right hand side of #2 fairway. Seed came up nicely in this area.

Same area, right hand side of #2. Shade, downslope shedding irrigation from the left hand side of the fairway with dry, south facing bunker slopes and an ideal traffic exit area. Tricky. We have a plan for drainage, tree pruning, irrigation re-configuration to finally get this area right, but first things first lets get some grass established.

The back nine was seeded just last week. This collar around the #12 club tee level is Hybrid bermuda that we have prepared and seeded the same way we seeded the #4 tees shown above, this area is just a week later. Seed is coming up here, and by this time next week this "tie-in" around the tee will be full of tall fescue seedlings.

Its been just over a year since we re-opened from the 2021 renovation. Much has been accomplished. Much more still to do. We just finished our Agronomic and Golf Course Budgeting Process, building plans on what we learned from this first crucial grow in year after a fairly significant renovation and a new golf course in many ways. I believe we really needed this year, I needed this year,  to put together a better agronomic plan moving forward. I'm excited about the future of this golf course.

The Best Is Yet To Come. Thank You For Your Support.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Rough Seeding Continues

The seeding process of our primary rough with Tall Fescue is going well as we have completed most of the front nine this week, 9/26/22 through 9/30/22. We also conducted our bi-weekly bunker maintenance this week which takes allot of man-hours that will next week be shifted to rough seeding which will allow us to finish over 90% of all the primary rough by weeks end.

We are opening hole #'s 1, 4 & 9 today, Friday 9/30/22 to limited golf cart traffic. When I say limited, I mean;

We Need To Keep Cart Traffic on Fairway's Only, Not in the Rough.

I wrote a course update in April about carts return to the golf course describing entering and exiting through gates and not driving in the rough. I can tell by traffic patterns that the gates are used by the majority of cart's to enter and exit fairways, but I  can also tell that golf cart traffic in the rough is common place. Driving in the rough on these newly seeded holes can compromise germination and establishment, as well as potentially migrating some seed into our hybrid bermuda fairways, which we definitely dont want. Driving in the rough simply cannot happen in the month of October while this new seed establishes. 

We are all used to the gates now. It will be imperative that we use them to both enter and exit any given hole while the Tall Fescue seed in the rough germinates and starts to get established.

Overhead from springtime shows the typical pattern we need carts to take while seed in rough is germinating and establishing.
Do Not Drive In The Rough.

Golf holes that will be cart path only will be lined with multiple signs.

#4 left-hand rough, which is a typical thinning stand that has been aggressively interseeded with Tall Fescue. The timing, weather,  preparation is perfect. It will need to be kept moist for germination as well as keeping cart traffic off of it. 

Look for multiple signs reminding you to not drive in the rough.

We have invested allot of sweat and treasure into this golf course to give us a chance at surviving summers, and have a product that is both  sustainable and something we can all be proud of. The 2021 renovation was the move that made this possible. These subsequent moves of establishing more durable Tall Fescue in the rough and future moves of installing supplemental  irrigation to keep the fescue thriving in the summer will bring us even closer to this goal. I truly believe...

The Best is Yet to Come! Thank You for Your Support and Patience.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Rough Seeding

It was about a year ago, we re-opened the golf course  after going through a major renovation converting fairways to Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda, re-surfacing all putting greens and adding a few more, and  re-shaping all of the bunkers. In fact, at this time last year we were still not open to our members and still under construction. And when we did open in early October, we opened to cart path only and a golf course that was in various phases of growing in. 

A big part of the renovation was converting our fairways from cool season turf to warm season Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda. The rough and new turf around new bunkers remained cool season turf. The primary rough areas were pretty wore out from the construction processes and were in the process of being seeded with Tall Fescue, a durable cool season variety of turf which is the same turf we used around the new bunkers during the renovation.

We had allot of loose ends on many different levels to tie up after the whole renovation process, and re-establishing rough with the aforementioned Tall Fescue was just one of them. Fortunately the cooler weather of fall arrived, and all of the seed we put down germinated and established, but we never had the time to properly prepare the seedbed for wide scale, long lasting success. Never the less, the durability of the Tall Fescue began to establish itself and grass plants from last years seeding are still present today despite another summer of hardship for cool season turf throughout the region. 

Another  reminder is during renovation we chose not to convert our rough to warm season hybrid bermuda like the fairways because hybrid bermuda does not do well in shady conditions. And the trees and associated shade on our Parkland Style Golf Course, hybrid bermuda would not be the right choice of turf in those areas. 

This brings us to today and the seeding once again of our primary rough areas with Tall Fescue. We just took the last two weeks and core aerated all of the primary rough on the golf course in preparation of seeding the rough with more Tall Fescue. This seeding process is starting this week on 9/27/22 and will go through the first week, maybe second week of October. We will update with many specifics the process's we will be undertaking as we proceed, but I wanted to bullet point  some main concepts for us all to understand.

 1. We need to keep the fescue seed out of the fairways.

 2. In order to achieve this we will have to restrict carts to paths only on the holes we are working on which will be more restrictions at any given time then the last two weeks when we were aerating the rough. Cart path only holes will be plainly marked with cart path only signs. 

3. Once we open a newly seeded hole to cart traffic, it will be important to enter and exit holes through the gates and drive carts in the fairway only.

Even though we core aerified all of the rough last week, we plan to hit extremely bare areas in the rough prior to seeding one more time with shallow, solid tine aeration

The TriWave seeder will be just one of the tools we plan to use in the seeding process. Here it is in action in the rough on #1

I'm confident once we get the seed covered with topdressing as well as worked  into the soil with irrigation, the seed will not migrate into the fairways. Keeping rough areas moist while the seed germinates will be another issue we will have to face  as without adequate moisture the seed cannot swell, germinate and establish. 

The timing and our ability to focus on seeding rough aside from normal course setup should elevate our seeding efforts  this year over last. Another reminder however is our renovation converted approximately half of our course to warm season turf that can handle our summers. The other half, the rough, is still cool season turf that will need to survive next summer, and summer is coming. That's why we are promoting Tall Fescue and its's better summer durability and tolerance to other cool season varieties as well as our plan to start adding supplemental irrigation to these rough areas. Our goal is to give us the ability independently irrigate our cool season rough apart from our warm season fairways which should put us in a good spot for all of our turf  to survive summers of the future.

This supplemental irrigation work will not get done over night and establishing our rough to primarily tall fescue will take multiple passes as well. We should however, with our focused seeding efforts this fall  and addition of some supplemental irrigation, be in a better place in fall of 2023.

The Best Is Yet To Come! Thanks for your Support & Patience