Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Spring Aerification Update

We are scheduled to start our spring turf aerification this coming week on Monday 3/25/19. Our plan is to aerify greens on Monday when the golf course will be closed, then start on fairways and green surrounds on Tuesday 3/26/19 through Thursday 3/28/19 utilizing alternating front nine and back nine closures. The following week we have the same schedule planned of alternating closures Tuesday 4/2/19 through Thursday 4/4/19 to finish fairways and surrounds.  However it looks like the weather might spoil our plans as none of this work can be done in the rain or when it is too wet.

Current Weather Underground forecast

 We are still planning to move ahead with the greens as it is forecasted to be dry all day Sunday then start raining again later in the day on Monday. This could be a big enough window to get the greens done but as we all know, six day out weather forecasts can change. 

We will keep you informed of all delays and  aeration re-scheduling as we get closer to the end of this week.  Thanks

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Spring is in the Air

The Spring Equinox this year is next Wednesday 3/20/19 and will be marked  by a Full Super Moon. Weather forecast for this day is currently cloudy with showers, but we should be able to see this Super Moon the next morning or evening if one is so inclined. This upcoming spring of 2019 was proceeded by one of the wettest winters we have had in 14 years of weather tracking with our GBGC weather station. February of 2019 was the wettest February in 14 years and by all measure's  current Statewide Reservoir Conditions as well as the current Snow Conditions and the reservoir that is nearest and dearest to our hearts, Folsom Reservoir, will all be in good shape for irrigation water this year.

Precipitation Data from GBGC's weather station

Walnut Shell Washouts

Our course actually takes rainfall very well as we are blessed with a topography that allows most of this water to quickly runoff  to our drainage system. Walnut shell areas are a different story as they are unstable and when they wash out,  the native soil becomes exposed and has eroded in may areas along cart paths and turf edges. Our plan is to actually add and compact some decomposed granite in some of these degraded areas prior to refreshing the walnut shells this spring. We are hoping to get this work done concurrently with our upcoming spring aeration.

Walnut shell & soil washout #12 tee

Washout along cart path #2.

Spring Aeration

This years spring aeration is scheduled to start Monday 3/25/19. Current weather forecast is for some rain  ahead of our scheduled start so we keep everyone informed of any schedule changes due to the weather.

Current forecast

Bunker Repair

Fortunately much of the rain that has fallen this winter has been sustained, steady rain with a minimal amount of hard rain events that severely washout our sand traps. Even though we haven't had any severe washouts, it seems like we have been in a state of constant bunker recovery the month of February. Once it dried out this past week we did take a opportunity to do some much needed sod repair around green side bunkers on #1, #4 & #18. We plan to address some more of this work on green side bunkers on #15 next week. 

New sod work green side bunker #4 green

additional sod work # 18 green rear

New Driving Range Mats & Clocks

Last week we upgraded our driving range mats to Turf Hound teeing surfaces. The new mats have better options for hitting off tight lies or a simulated rough cut along with much better options for using a tee. Due to arrive any time are two clocks, one for behind the driving range and another for the #1 tee and practice green. We will install these as soon as they arrive.

Newly installed TurfHound Mats

Similar clock design that will be arriving
to The Club any day

Turf Conversion Project Update

We are currently on track to complete the re-grassing of  the remaining surrounds on the golf course along with #17 fairway with hybrid bermuda starting August 1. The contractor we have selected estimates it will take three weeks to complete the slated work. We will not be completely closed during construction but will be utilizing some temporary greens while working on certain holes and will have to close #17 during parts of the construction process. Much, much more to come.


There will be allot going on at the course this year as we approach spring and commencement of a a turf renovation project later this summer. We will communicate on many fronts from the golf shop daily e-mail blasts as well as the Granite Bay Course Update website. If any member is interested in getting notifications when the Granite Bay Course Update has posted some new information you can "follow by e-mail" in the top right hand corner of the website. My intention is to update more frequently this year as we do have allot going on. Thanks as always for your support.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Hybrid Bermuda Trial Progress

The Winter Solstice this year is on Friday December 21st. The day marks the shortest day of the year, just under 10 hours of sunlight. From this day we add approximately one and a half minutes of sunlight every day until the Summer Solstice in late June. Perhaps a more fitting definition of the winter solstice is mid winter rather then the beginning of winter as many calendars depict because more light will enter our part of the world everyday. And this matters for our golf course turf because the system is a living plant that needs sunlight. 

Long shadows in the afternoon on #12 on 12/13/18, close to Mid Winter

Short Days & Hybrid Bermuda Trials

 And no more is this need for light evident then with our hybrid bermuda trials. The shorter and cooler days have had the expected effect on the trial patches and I am admittedly  overdue providing you with an update. Putting these  trial patches in the middle of landing areas places them right in front of golfers and as the trial patches seasonally change without continued explanation's of what is going on, opinions and speculations can run the gamut.

 So what I would like to do in a few short bullet points to update the facts of where we are currently at with our turf conversion project and the beginning phase of it, our hybrid bermuda trials.

GBGC Trial #12  10/24/18

GBGC Trial #12 12/18/18

"The Project" Phase I - GBGC Hybrid Bermuda Trials

  • We are currently still in a trial phase. 
Our turf conversion project is all encompassing. The three main components of which are: 1. The Turf, 2. Soil, 3. Irrigation Enhancements. All of these components require  research, testing and evaluation. We are currently in the process of conducting physical soil analysis with laboratories that specialize in sports turf to determine best method and potential amendments for preparation of the soil for our fairway turf surfaces. It was always our intent to look at the further irrigation changes to our irrigation system so we could independently water fairways completely separately from the rough. A turf conversion is the ideal opportunity to make these further changes. And of course getting the right turf is paramount to a turf conversion. The hybrid bermuda varieties that were only installed seven months ago require  continued evaluation and testing which is exactly what we are doing now.

  • Golf Course Playability for our Members has always been the main motivation for this turf conversion plan.  
 The #1 complaint that we have received from members for over 20 years has been summer conditions therefore playability is the driving motivation of a cool to warm season turf conversion at Granite Bay. 50% of all of our golf rounds are played between the months of June and October at precisely the time of the year where our  cool season turf is experiencing acute environmental stress. Most of the months of October and November and sometimes into December we have traditionally been recovering from the impact of summer in one degree or another. Amending our underlying soil structure as mentioned above as well as enhancing irrigation coverage will not change the inherent environmental stress of a Granite Bay Summer on cool season turf. 
  • Water cost and availability of irrigation water for golf course turf is a huge, defining issue in California.
If playability is 1A as a motivator for a turf conversion, water availability is 1B. The State of CA is in the process of further establishing water use protocols for all of us and we as managers would be derelict in our duties not to recognize and plan for it. Our current main water issue here at GBGC, besides the water use perceptions of the golf industry in general, is a consistent availability of this resource both now and into the future. This will become even more acute when we have our next water shortage or drought and CA starts telling us all how much and when we can use the water that we all think we have a right to. Cost is not a major issue for GBGC currently due to a great deal made with our water provider 25 years ago, but it is unlikely to remain that way. Hybrid Bermuda can use as much as 40% less water then cool season turf and survive on even less. The same cannot be said for cool season turf. This project has to be about sustainability as well as playability. 
  • We chose to observe the trials to go into dormancy without utilizing any methods to mitigate the dormancy aesthetic issues in year one. 
The aesthetics of the Hybrid Bermuda trial patches are different then the surrounding cool season turf.   Now that we are in mid winter, however there are different strategies  that we can employ that will mitigate the completely dormant look. Raising the height of cut in October, using iron  and fertility to mask the dormancy as well as high end timely pigment's are all strategies that are widely used on dormant or off color hybrid bermuda to make it more aesthetically pleasing in the winter. Additionally there is some anecdotal evidence that as the  current sod trials mature their winter hardiness will improve as well. (see below picture) Through mid winter this year we have chosen to observe the trials without employing any of these aesthetic mitigation methods so we could ascertain any significant differences.  We look forward to seeing how quickly the hybrid trials start to regain their color as we start adding a minute and a half of daylight every day starting the end of the week.

The center green patch in this picture taken on 12/18/18 is a patch of Hybrid Bermuda
surrounded by common bermuda at a local golf club. This patch is the same CA hybrid
 variety that we have on #12 and has been on this fairway for 3 years. The GC Superintendent
at this club has extensive experience with common and hybrid bermuda fairways stated  that
the depicted hybrid patch never went completely dormant when compared to the common
bermuda surrounding it, but as it matured has exhibited better winter color every subsequent
year after installation.


Our own trials and research will continue, and because of this there are no more details on the project to share at this time. I will say hybrid bermuda turf conversions are being done and contemplated all over the State of CA including Northern California for the same reasons we are looking at one.  We are not the first golf club to contemplate this conversion and we wont be the last . And at no time of the year will the drastic aesthetic changes of off color hybrid bermuda be more apparent then right now. I understand that there are bound to be valid questions and differing opinions and I apologize for not communicating in a more timely fashion. We want to get it right and do this for the right reasons and we want our Members to be excited, proud and happy to be a part of this great Golf Club. We believe in this project and are willing to make a substantial capitol investment to make it happen. The project has always started with playability but has to be about sustainability as well. And even though many of us are not thinking about it now, I am thinking about it and planning for it all time. And that "it" is Summer.

Thank you!

On behalf of all of the employee partners here at Granite Bay I would like to thank the Granite Bay Membership for their generous contribution to the employee holiday fund. I know the GCM employees have always been surprised and grateful for the extra funds at the Holiday Season. 

Mucho's Gracias y Feliz Navida y Ano Nuevo!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fall is Here

The 2018 Fall Equinox was last weekend ushering in the best time to grow cool season turf at Granite Bay Golf Club. We are in a good position after switching our customary fall aeration from early October to early September as now most playing surfaces are either fully or well on their way to recovering from aeration as opposed to awaiting aeration after another 30 days of end of summer.

"Two shots at about 11z, left is from the Summer Solstice, the right is from this morning, the Fall Equinox. Yes, the earth really is round, is tilted!"  Enki Research 9/22/18

In addition to completing aeration of primary turf grass playing surfaces (greens, tees & fairways) we just this week completed the re-sodding of the #3 green surround. Completing #3 brings the count to four green surrounds we stripped and re-sodded with overseeded hybrid bermuda sod  since July. The end result with all of these efforts is the golf course will be in pretty good shape in October & November rather then in a state of recovery from our usual one degree or another summer turf grass setbacks.

These moves have set us up for even greater success as the golf course maintenance department can now work on a host of little nagging maintenance items and projects rather then course aeration and recovery. That being said there still are some course aeration items to complete that wont require any course closures. Below is an out line of GCM's plans for the next several weeks.

Aerify Tilleys, Chipping, Nursery Practice Greens       10/1/18 

( These PG's were not aerified with regulation greens and upper PG so members had something to putt and practice on while other greens recovered)

Club Championship Course Preparation     10/8/18 - 10/15/18

Jones Cup Course Preparation     10/29/18 - 11/4/18 

Core Aerify Rough (excluding Surround's)       11/5/18 - 11/16/18

Besides the outline above we have allot of little projects we hope to check off "The List" during this time frame such as leveling and expanding some tee levels, tree pruning etc.. Additionally we will be monitoring and documenting seasonal changes of our hybrid bermuda trials on #'s 2,5,8,12 & #16 as well as the overseeded hybrid bermuda surrounds on #'s 5-7 & #3. Always something to do, always something to learn. Thank you for your support. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 Fall Aerification & Surround Sod Progress

The Good Lord was smiling on us after switching our historic fall aeration dates from October to September in 2018. We knew shifting the last 30 days of the summer season into a aeration recovery season would be a good move for our Member's and the course but realized that it could be risky. September's days are indeed shorter but temperatures can still be hot which creates a much trickier scenario for aeration recovery and germinating ryegrass seed on the tee's, fairways & rough. Fortunately the weather we experienced this  September was perfect. 

#8 green 8 day from aggressive core aeration

Putting Surfaces

Honestly, aerating greens in September is not as troublesome as the rest of the course in that we are dealing with only 3 acres of turf on a sand soil base. Our normal process went well. We core aerified pulling and removing cores  & deep tine aerated (6" deep) followed by sand topdressing & fertilizer, soil amendments & bentgrass seed. The picture above depicts almost complete hole coverage 8 days out. It is likely we will have complete aeration hole  coverage 14 days out this coming Tuesday 9/18/19 at which time we will start lowering mower height's and getting putting quality back to normal.

#16 tee seed germinating 9 days after overseeding


Aerating and overseeding the tee's was equally successful as the greens this 2018 fall season.  We overseed the tees because their base is hybrid bermuda which would show some dormancy in the depths of winter if they were not overseeded. This is important because tees get allot of traffic year round at GBGC. We core aerated & scarified which chops up the aeration cores and fluffs up the tees hybrid bermuda base. We then spread ryegrass seed into this seedbed we created, added sand topdressing & fertilizer. This was followed by heavier then normal irrigation to keep the seed wet during germination. This heavier then normal irrigation is a common denominator during any type of ryegrass  overseeding or inter-seeding as the seed and underlying soil must be kept wet during germination and establishment.  Above picture represents seed germinating 9 days out on #16 tee.

Fairways look good after aeration and interseeding
but still can be soft in some areas as new seed establishes.

Fairways and Green Surrounds

The process of aerating fairways and  green surrounds went very quickly this September as I elected to use solid tines rather then coring tines which eliminated the need for core removal and cleanup. I wanted to get seed down as quickly as possible and we did so employing various seeders and tactics. Bottom line we were able to aerify and seed all fairways and surrounds in two weeks. We spread over 8 tons of seed in these areas which is a lighter lbs per acre rate then on the tees but doubled and tripled up in thin and bare areas. Following the seeding we sand topdressed and are now awaiting germination of the seed.

#5 FW soft spot. This is where members can really help the cause by avoiding driving
with golf carts

Fertilizer & Water

We are applying a good shot of fertilizer to the entire golf course this coming Monday 9/17/18. With all of the seed on the ground in various stages of germination along with the presence of adequate moisture and fertility, GBGC will have  substantially better  course conditions the end of September in 2018 then we have any end of September, ever. We are back to a scatter mode with carts after initial soaking of the course to push seed into the soil and facilitate germination. We are irrigating the course currently with  recovery and seed germination  in mind not playability so we are playing preferred lies or winter rules through the green.This is how you can help out.  Please use cart paths as much as possible as inevitably there will be wet areas that pop up in the next two weeks  that we didn't get to roping off and avoid soft areas with golf carts. 

Fertilizer awaiting deployment

#3 green surround

#3 Surround Re-Sodding

We will get to aerating the rough  after a week of prepping for another green surround face-lift. We will be stripping the existing sod around #3 green the week of Monday 9/17/18 for a re-sodding sometime the week of Monday 9/24/18. In addition to prepping the area around the green and front and rear bunker we will be doing some tree trimming behind the green along with landscape cleanup and re-irrigation. The trees, in particular the large Live Oak, desperately need trimming allowing light to the back portion of the green and surrounding turf. During construction hours this green will be closed  to allow us to get it done in a timely fashion usually opening back up by 2:00 PM with a drop area.

Getting #3 surround re-sodded along with previously completed #'s 5, 6 & 7 gets us four total surrounds done in a little over 60 days. That was a successful 2-3 months  when you include the  test patches of hybrid bermuda for potential fairway re-grassing in 2020 and the  above mentioned timely aeration.  This really sets us up for a successful fall and winter season and we couldn't have done it without your support. Thank You.

#7 completed re-sodding with overseeded hybrid bermuda

Friday, August 31, 2018

2018 Fall Aerification & Surround Sod Update

Core aerating #18 Green in 2015.
One of the better moves we have made in awhile was moving our traditional fall aeration date's from early October to early September. Its a little risky because September can still be hot, but moving dates takes a whole month out of the end of summer and combines it with aeration.  Recovery will happen quick and we should be in great shape in October rather then in a recovery mode. And it is almost like it was meant to be because the weather has been unseasonably cool for the end of August and it is forecasted for more of the same. Below is our 2018 Fall Aeration Schedule.

The internet link on Why do golf courses aerate so much is explained in the USGA article or you can search  GBGC's aeration history in these updates by looking at our Aeration link in lables if you want to know more about why we do this pesky process.

2018 Fall Aeration Schedule

  • Tuesday 9/4/18 - Course Closed                           1-18 Greens & Tilleys
  • Wednesday 9/5/18 - Closed Till 2:00 PM             Tees
  • Thursday 9/6/18 - B9 Closed  Till 2:00 PM         Fairways
  • Friday 9/7/18 - F9 Closed Till 2:00 PM               Fairways
  • Tuesday 9/11/18 - B9 Closed  Till 2:00 PM          Surrounds
  • Wednesday 9/12/18 - F9 Closed Till 2:00 PM      Surrounds
  • Thursday 9/13/18 - Closed                                   Surrounds  
  • Friday 9/14/18 - TBD                                           Finish Surrounds

We will be cart path starting Thursday 9/6/17 as all traffic at that point will be driving on freshly aerated, seeded & topdressed fairways. Because of all of the seed on these fairways, we will have to keep them wet for seed germination and  know this short term sacrifice will benefit the golf course as a whole. We are targeting around the weekend of 9/22/18 to allow the carts off the path once again. Upper practice green and chipping green will be aerated a couple of weeks after 9/4/18 so members have a practice green to use.

#7 stripped out and ready for sod

#7 Surround Re-Sodding Completed

One of attributes of Hybrid Bermuda is that it thrives in warm to hot temperatures. And Hybrid Bermuda does much better then it's great great grandfather, common bermuda  as the weather starts to cool down however when  getting it established we a higher level of success when the temperatures are at least in the 80's and preferably 90's. That being said, we are running out of the best weather to get more Overseeded Hybrid Bermuda sod installed around the surrounds.

So we jumped on #7 last week and got it prepped for sod which was installed this past Monday 8/27/18. We want to try to get #3 stripped and installed in the next few weeks either after we conclude aerification or possibly while we are aerifying. Either way we want to get it done while we still have some good establishment weather. We'll keep you informed. Below are some more pictures of our Overseeded Hybrid Bermuda progress for those who are interested.

Adding some irrigation and tree root barrier to the rear of #7

Finished product after re-sodding

Another view of the finished product

New sod around the rear bunker

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Overseeded Hybrid Bermuda Sodding #6 & #5

As we explained in our last Granite Bay Course Update, sod farm's and their install crews are a bit of a moving target. That being said we received a call middle of the week with an opportunity to get a sod install on Friday 8/3/18 and we jumped on it. We prepped the rest of #6 and stripped out the approach on #5 and witnessed and helped with our first big roll install of sod here at Granite Bay. Very exciting. 

GBGC GCM Staff leveling sprinkler heads and removing old sod
ahead of overseeded hybrid bermuda install

Currently we have the area roped off with some drop area circle's painted in front of the ropes. The sod will be soft until it roots down so please use the drop areas or the collars of the greens when your ball lands near the putting surface rather then hitting off of the new sod. Hybrid Bermuda will start to root almost immediately but it will need to be kept wet during the next couple of weeks to get firmly established. 

#6 ready for sod

We are going to start prepping the rest of #5 on Monday 8/6/18 for another install this coming Friday 8/10/18. In the subsequent weeks we plan to complete #7. So by the end of August ahead of aeration after Labor Day, we will have completed 3 green surrounds. Very exciting.

Overseeded Hybrid Bermuda big rolls being staged. Each roll covers 400 sq. ft.

Contractor installing big roll on #6

Contractor pulling the edges close together of the big roll sod.
In the background GBGC GCM is  watering in the new sod