Tuesday, August 29, 2017

23 Days Left of Summer

New Assistant Superintendents - Miguel & Ryan

We began the search for Jogi's replacement immediately after he announced he was leaving Granite Bay to take a new Golf Course Superintendent position at Empire Ranch Golf Club. We didn't have to look far as Miguel Machuca was already in place and eager to accept the added responsibility. Miguel and I have been working together for 15 years taking care of golf courses locally with Club Corp and he joined the staff here at Granite Bay in 2010. Miguel is well respected by the GCM staff as well as the GBGC Membership and has a "lead by example approach" to training and instructing young greenskeepers. I refer to him as the "meticulous one" because of his tireless attention to detail.

Ryan Mooney & Miguel Machuca
To fill Miguel's spot we went outside of the GBGC golf course maintenance department and were fortunate to land Ryan Mooney from most recently Woodcreek Golf Club in Roseville.  Ryan worked summer jobs at Cobblestone Creek CC in Victor, NY while pursuing his BA degree in History from St. John Fischer College. He couldn't get golf out of his system while pursing a teaching or museum position to go along with that history degree, so  he decided to go back to school and get a turf degree and pursue a career as a Golf Course Superintendent. His Turf Certificate from UC Riverside lead him to a internship at the Riviera CC for a couple of years and a season at Valley Hi in Elk Grove. One of  Ryan's primary task's will be selective perennial weed control here at GBGC so we are very much looking forward to his success in this area and his addition to our GCM staff.

Summer Blues - Only 23 Days Left!

Jogi's has always said that 1996 was the hottest year we ever experienced here at Granite Bay Golf Club logging 35 days over 100 degrees. However by all measurements 2017 has been the hottest in at least the last 9 years.  Our weather station here the the club has recorded 24 days above 100 degrees so far. Of those 100 degree days 7 were 105 degrees, 1 was 106 degrees and 3 were 107 degrees. What made these numbers even worse was the intensity of two distinct heat waves. The first one was in the very first part of June (6/18 - 6/23) where we had 6 days where the average high temperature was 106 degrees. There was somewhat a reprieve through the rest of  June, then we got hit with the second distinct heat wave in early July (7/6 - 7/10) which lasted 5 days that averaged 103 degrees for the high. 90 degree Summer heat records were set in Sacramento and reflected at the course as there was not one day in the month of July where the high temperature was below 90 degrees. In fact the lowest high temperature we recorded in July was 93 degrees on 7/1. It never got any better then that.

Above is a synopsis of summer heat weather data compiled from our weather station for the last 9 years. The data for 2017 YTD is through August 28. Accuweather forecast for Granite Bay has another 6 days of triple digits in their forecast which will move 2017 numbers even higher. 

Everything we do in the summer is a reaction to heat and what it does to our cool season turf. Heat is what drives us to rope off areas to mitigate the effects of traffic. Heat is the main contributor of weeds, disease and insects thriving in the summer and the reaction from GCM to mitigate their damages despite all of our proactive measures to prevent them. It is unfortunate that the effort to hold on to what turf we have through the summer conflict with fast and firm playing surfaces that golfers desire. However finishing up the summer with a viable stand of turf where we don't need to do massive amounts of reseeding is in everyone's best interest.

Summer Weeds

Last year in July, I wrote about  Granite Bay Golf Club Perennial Weed Control and have linked those articles above. The details regarding perennial weed varieties we battle here at Granite Bay and options for control  were actually outlined pretty well so if you are interested in those details click on the link.

Some weed control updates are worth addressing however that reveal more insight into the control task at hand. The Knotgrass mentioned in the above updates has gotten worse, not better this season likely due to the intensity of the summer, fertility levels and moisture content. We are currently using the same strategy of spot treating areas with a selective herbicide  however we are going to step up application frequency's and rates. This might seem like the "definition of insanity" but it is all we are resourced to do at the moment. Hopefully the intensified strategy will push this weed back enough to mitigate the amount of re-sodding we plan on doing next season, which is the strategy we will be budgeting for in 2018.

Recent selective herbicide application on Knotgrass is doing it's job.

Dallisgrass is another perennial weed we fight here at GBGC however I'm not as concerned about it as it's somewhat slow to spread. Still difficult to control with selective herbicides but we don't have large populations in the primary playing surfaces and Typically control it in those areas by just digging it out and covering hole with divot mix and seed. We do apply the same  herbicide strategy for Knotgrass to Dallisgrass in the periphery and have had some containment success.

Dallisgrass at GBGC

Goosegrass being controlled selectively

Only 23 More Days!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jogi's Leaving

After 23 years of service to Granite Bay Golf Club and it's members, Jogi Choung, our long time Assistant Superintendent has accepted the Golf Course Superintendent position at Empire Ranch Golf Club in Folsom.

Jogi came to the United States in 1984 from Punjab, India and started working at Cameron Park CC while attending night school to fine tune his English and Agronomic's. In 1994 Jogi followed Jim Ferrin, Granite Bay's first Superintendent, to help with the growing in of a new Golf Club in Granite Bay. He has been here ever since.

Jogi has always described himself as a "Farmer" and has been the steadying presence in Granite Bay's Golf Course Maintenance Department for over two decades. He is more then just a leader to everyone on the crew, he is a friend. He never raises his voice, always has a smile on his face and has always maintained demeanor that everyone gravitates too. We will all miss him but are happy for him with his new opportunity and that he will still be a part of the Club Corp family.

Jogi's last day at Granite Bay is Tuesday August 15th and we are having a little send away fiesta today, Thursday August 10th at 12:30 PM in the golf course maintenance yard. Anyone reading this that wants to bid Jogi farewell is more then welcome. Miguel & Enrique are making tacos as well.  

Jogi and Matt down in a hole

Jogi making irrigation adjustments via IPad

Saturday, July 8, 2017

75 Days Left of Summer

The Summer of 2017 started off with an intense heatwave here at Granite Bay. The six days between June 28th and July 2nd we averaged 106 degrees for a high. This is the type of heat that will leave a mark on the cool season turf that comprises most of the playing surfaces here at Granite Bay. We did experience a reprieve as the heatwave was thankfully followed by some much kinder weather ushered in by the beloved delta breezes, but the intense heat did leave behind some isolated damage and we have another similar heatwave predicted for this week. Below are a series of pictures that chronicle some of the issues the golf course is currently dealing with along with what the golf course maintenance department is doing to mitigate the damage.

From afar the golf course looks good, has many areas of dense turf and really good color.

However up close in some areas you can see typical heat related issues. Above picture depicts a disease called Southern Blight that we treat proactively for. Obviously our proactive treatments were not enough for this specific patch of Fairway turf on #16.

The heat also plays havoc with cart paths in some areas. Cart path buckling here is caused by soil expansion underneath. The above picture depicts the area directly after the forward tees on #5. There is another raised area on #9. The soil on #5, #8, #9 is somewhat different then the rest of the course in that it has a higher clay content then decomposed granite. The three paths on these three holes are the only paths we have experienced this type of heat related lifting. We will repair by using a concrete saw and remove a 3" section of concrete creating an expansion joint. 

Putting surfaces took a hit from the intense heat as well and are now starting to exhibit the stress from root loss particularly the poa annua patches. The past few summers we have not experienced the type of heatwave we experienced the beginning of July and the poa on our greens fared pretty well. But as I said, 106 average highs temps for 6 days will leave a mark. Above Miguel is hand spiking and seeding weak areas with bentgrass seed on the practice green. In fact we closed the practice green on Friday 7/7/17 as much of the high side of it is thinning. Tilleys practice green is still open.

#7 green has thinned out at the back of the green as well. All of the greens have been spiked to improve air exchange in the root zone and this one has received additional spiking  and seeding as well as placing GUR ropes around the weakest area at the back.

Additionally we have put out the portable fan to help with surface air movement on this troublesome green and have tree trimmers scheduled to thin the Live Oaks behind the green creating more air movement. The past few summers #7 has been pretty good and we thought we might have turned the corner with it. However the heatwave we experienced has highlighted our vulnerabilities and proved there is more work to do. 
The #3 green is at least for now proving to be a success story. Tree thinning allowing for substantially more air movement in the area has really paid dividends on this chronically bad green in the summer months. However if you look really close even in this picture you can see a yellowing of the poa annua patches which is all related to root loss and heat stress.
#3 fan up and running during the summer months contributing to the greens success story.

Many tee boxes on the course were the first visual casualties of the heatwave. The perfect storm of intense heat and traffic took it toll on several tee levels. Picture above depicts the granite level on #1 at the conclusion of the heatwave. 

GCM re-surfacing. We also took the opportunity to expand this level and have plans to expand the level below in the hopefully near future. 

#1 granite level growing in. Hopefully it will be ready for some use in a few weeks.

The granite and club levels on #5 took a hit from the heatwave as well. The hole will play short for you granite and club players while we re-surface.

These tee boxes needed to be leveled and expanded as well. We will finish the expanding and leveling process next week and install the sod.

Your GCM staff will continue the good fight and battle to mitigate further setbacks as we not only deal with issues from the early July heatwave but future heat that the next 75 days of  summer (as of 7/8/17) is bound to bring. Summers are hard on turfgrass in the west and particularly hard on cool season golf course turf.  We cant control the weather but we can manage the irrigation, prevent disease and insect damage as much as we can, re sod areas when able and live with some damage when we have to. 

It's Only 75 Days !

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wedgewood Vegetation Management

The community of Wedgewood, our southern neighbors have recently contracted with the Vegetation Management Company, Goat Central to start clearing out accumulated brush for fire prevention in 15 acres of Linda Creek Ravine. Granite Bay Golf Clubs Property line to the left of #14 is adjacent to the area that Wedgwood has hired the contractor. We have allowed the contractor to install temporary fencing slightly onto the golf course property just below the bridge on #14. It will take three weeks to clear  the 15 acres at Wedgewood and I understand afterwards the process will be moving over to Granite Bay Hills. Evidently this is quite common for local associations and large home-sites that have these fuel load reduction needs to utilize Goat Central for this type of vegetation management.

Installing the temporary fence along the actual property line would have been an onerous task and possibly not as a successful containment as installing in the location below our #14 bridge. This Green Vegetation Management Procedure is approved by the  California Regional Water Quality Control Board as well as the US Department of Fish and Game according to Goat Central proprietor Roy Austin. 

Containment fence beginning pin high to #14 Tee.

Fencing traveling through the Linda Creek Ravine below GBGC's #14 bridge.

Crossing over main fork of Linda Creek heading up left side of #14

We have temporarily moved the out of bounds stakes in 5 yards or so to accommodate the fence up the left side of #14. This should take only 3 weeks  and we will get a little berry and poison oak clearing out of it as well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cart Path #1 Bridge Complete

As planned, we completed the demolition, forming and pouring of the broken concrete near the beginning of our #1 bridge today, Tuesday June 27th 2017. Traffic was routed around #10 to #1 where all play for the day started on the pebble tees. We will have to play that way tomorrow, Wednesday 6/28/17 and will open the bridge to cart and foot traffic on Thursday 6/29/17. Below are some pictures of the process for those who are interested.

Detour over #10 bridge, around #10 to the #1 Pebble Tee

Miguel completing early AM demolition of the existing concrete.

Lifting a big chunk to drop and break

Enrique getting some grading done ahead of concrete contractors. I neglected to get a picture of us digging out the surface Oak Tree roots that caused the damage in the first place. The root material amounted to a couple of cart loads.
GB moving concrete with Toro Workmen.

Dumping concrete into formed cavity

J&S Asphalt concrete crew getting concrete in place.

Concrete finishing
Finished product.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cart Path Repair #1 Bridge

All of us who play and work at Granite Bay Golf Club have been dealing with a bumpy patch of concrete leading onto the #1 bridge for awhile now and we are finally getting it repaired this coming Tuesday 6/27/17.

The damage occurred gradually from the roots of a maturing Valley Oak that was likely planted 20 years ago right near the entrance to the bridge. 

A small challenge in making this repair is we will need to close the bridge for a day or two while we pour new concrete and allow the concrete to cure. During this time we will need to route all cart and foot traffic to the #10 bridge and around to the #1 fairway. We will have the temporary traffic pattern marked plainly and hopefully not experience major traffic jams on the #10 bridge. 

The detour will add 800 to 900 feet to a walkers round that day so prepare for some extra exercise.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summer Is Here

The Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is next week on Wednesday June 21, 2017. This marks the beginning of the most difficult time for the cool season grasses which is the type of grass playing surfaces we have here at Granite Bay. Things can get interesting during this time which stretches from the Summer Solstice to the Fall Equinox on Friday September 22, 2017. Why this is the most difficult time for our course is in part due to:

  • Extensive heat causes cool season turf to be more susceptible to disease & insect damage, weed infestation & heat stress and wilt.
  • It is a challenge  to keep the course as firm as we would all like it because of the amount of irrigation required to keep it viable and alive.
  • It is a time of year of high golfing activity which compound the above mentioned stresses.

What Are Our Plans?

We are in pretty good shape going into this stressful summer season and that can go a long  way towards our inevitable success. Currently however there is a heatwave forecasted during 2017 Mac Cup that has six consecutive 100 degree days predicted. Those kind of stretches have always left a mark on this golf course.  So sucess will be sustaining as much turf  as we can through the  summer so as to minimize our recovery efforts in the fall. The plans to achieve this success is twofold: Manage Irrigation & Control Cart Traffic

Manage the Irrigation

Irrigation management is constant. We make daily adjustments to the individual sprinkler head control that has been recently expanded. We treat areas of the course with surfactants or wetting agents that aid in both water movement where where we need to move irrigation into the soil,  as well as retention where the soil needs some help in holding onto the irrigation that has been applied. We shift GCM personnel resources into hand watering because no matter how sophisticated a irrigation system is, there is no substitute for a guy on a hose.  

There is no substitute for a man on a hose

We understand the traditional inconsistencies with areas of the course that can get soft and we are ever striving to improve them as well as micro-managing of the irrigation system in these areas. Our decomposed granite soil's and cool season grass varieties make this a ongoing challenge but I believe we have made progress over the years. That being said it is inevitable that the the ups and downs of a summer season will lead to periods of the course getting on both the wet & dry side. 

Control Cart Traffic

Granite Bay Golf Clubs Scatter Definition is:

Golf Carts can scatter on the course by entering by entering at designated entry points defined by green and white stakes. Once in the fairway you are free to scatter while in and among the fairway. Please exit the fairway or rough at the designated exit point designated by red and white stakes.



Additional precautions and strategy's to protect the course besides the scatter rules include restricting traffic to entire golf holes although limiting this practice when we can to only one hole per nine. Additionally when temperatures are forecasted to be over the century mark, we will call for cart path only in the afternoons.

Results of golf cart traffic driving on stressed turf during the summer.

How can Members Help?

By understanding that cart operation on the turf surfaces during the summer months is stressful. Please utilize cart paths as much a possible.  Additionally follow the scatter rule and drive on green healthy grass avoiding brown, stressed grass.

The Drought is Over 

One thing we wont be talking about is drought restrictions in 2017. Due to almost record rainfall  & snow accumulation in most parts of the State, our reservoirs and aquifers have been replenished. However the drought of 2013 has changed the way many of us look at water policy and use. The State will continue to exert it's authority over water purchase and use and we at Granite Bay will have to stay on top of these inevitable changes. We are currently forecasting to be 25% below a State calculated MAWA Water Budget (maximum allowable water allocation) for the 2017 season and have had a good conservation story since this game changing drought of 2013 started.

Current Folsom Reservoir level. 2017 was one wild graph line !