Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February Progress and Preperations for 2011 Season

I don't recall a winter with as varying  a weather pattern as this one. We have all seen plenty of wet or dry winters where certain patterns predicate course conditions but in 2011 so far we've experienced it all. Record rainfall in December  saturated the golf course taking almost the entire  month of January to dry it out. And now midway through February, traditionally our wettest month of the year, we are just getting our first  series of storms. Looks like February could finish on the wet side with storms forcasted through the next ten days.

Completed Fairway Bunkers #12
We took advantage of the lack of rainfall in January to make progress on bunker renovation. We had to stick close to the cart paths because the course was so soggy that transporting materials across the wet fairways would have made a mess. This allowed us to tackle the three bunkers adjacent to the path on #12 and with the weather cooperating the crew completed all three. We are putting the finishing touches on the left hand fairway bunker on #17 which only leaves us 11 fairway bunkers to complete on the course. We can definitely see allot of light at the end of this long tunnel.

Completed Fairway Bunker #18 with Greenside Bunkers
Continued progress was also made in January through the first part of February on another of our major 2011 winter goals, irrigation enhancements around green complexes. Any one who has been playing during this time period has probably come across us moving, adding or even removing sprinkler heads around the putting surface areas. We have addressed every hole on the front nine to this point and are currently getting ready to start with some work around #13. Improving irrigation coverage allows us to actually reduce irrigation run times in certain areas as well as reduce, not eliminate, the need for hand watering in these areas. I'm confident we'll really see the fruit of this work paying off this coming summer.

Irrigation Work in Progress Behind #12 Green
Speaking of summers, recently some members of the Granite Bay Golf Committee took some excursions to  local golf courses to check out their dormant bermuda playing surfaces. These trips were motivated by comments we seem to get every Summer regarding Granite Bays softer fairway conditions as compared to other courses in the area. The purpose of these trips was to get a feel for these bermuda surfaces when they were dormant to ascertain from a members standpoint if this was a viable option for the future.

Dormant Bermuda at Northridge

Before I go any farther let me state that our budget and plans for 2011 are set. I wrote allot about thatch removal and core aeration last year and will continue to cover the necessity for organic matter reduction in all of our turf grass playing surfaces here at Granite Bay. We plan to do more core aeration and thatch removal in 2011 along with a continued emphasis on irrigation management. Additionally we secured funding for extra hand watering personnel this Summer, along with funding for the irrigation enhancements that are currently under way, as well as extra funding for fungicide applications around greens to prevent  the southern blight disease that really hurt us last year. The due diligence that the golf committee is currently doing is  to help us with  planning for potential long range options for the course.

Bermuda fairways have always been a discussed option since many courses in the area play off bermuda and the "transition" area we live in can support both cool and warm season turf with advantages and disadvantages for both. The group played at Northridge in Sacramento and the newer Sevillano Links in Corning. The overall consensus of the group was that the firmer surfaces that bermuda generally provides in the summer was not a acceptable trade off for the conditions they exhibited in the winter when they were dormant. So discussions will go on covering other future options for the fairways at Granite Bay however we are hoping our 2011 plans will yield improvement. Our soil type and the varying populations of bentgrass and ryegrass have historically made this course a challenge to meet all of the memberships expectations in the  Summer. Will we have periods where we will tip one way or the other over the fine line between too wet and too dry? Probably. Will our efforts this year yield better conditions?  I believe so but time will tell.

Dormant Fairway at Sevillano Links

Dormant Fairway at Sevillano Links

Lastly I wanted to update you on some new things we have been talking about and will be out on the course soon. First the divot boxes I mentioned in our last update are almost complete. We secured delivery of the IPE wood that we are using for construction a little later then expected so we are a tad behind schedule but expect to have the par 3 boxes by the end of February. The 10 new divot bottles boxes will be out sometime in March as well as the matching IPE siding on the water cooler stations. Along with the new above mentioned  course accoutrement's we'll also be putting out new flags and new tournament flag sticks and cups very soon.

Routing and Assembling Divot Boxes

Completed Divpt Mix Box with Broken Tee Compartment

We are looking forward to a successful 2011 which will include the long awaited completion of our bunker project, resurfacing all remaining bentgrass tee surfaces and beginning the first phase of Granite Bays practice facilities improvement (much more to come on this). Our plans to facilitate overall improvement on the course this year come from past experiences as well as our sincere desire to respond to your needs and requests. 


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