As the seasons change different environmental stresses start to affect the playing surfaces her at Granite Bay and these stresses require different strategies to protect the turf. We can all agree that the stress level of the playing surfaces at Granite Bay are more elevated in the summer months then they are in the spring, fall or even winter. Golf cart traffic is one of those stresses that can really take it's toll in the summer months, and it is one that we can put some control measures in place to mitigate this stress. Of course golf carts are a way of life on most golf courses including Granite Bay, and can be attributed in part to the growth and success of modern day golf by making the game accessible to more players. However uncontrolled cart traffic channeled into concentrated areas will wear turf down to a dirt path. We have all witnessed many examples here at Granite Bay of cart worn turf.
|Traffic Control in place on #2|
Protecting the turf is why we initiate traffic control measures by alternating wear patterns and alleviating traffic on entire holes giving that hole some relief. This proactive approach, which we initiate in the early spring, was at the behest of the Granite Bay Golf Committee. I was asked awhile back about traffic control on the course and if we had a actual plan and rotation that we follow. The answer is yes and no. As I mentioned above, golf cart traffic is more acute during the summer months then any other season of the year. In the spring and winter if the course is too wet we restrict cart access to paths anyway so there is rarely a need to rope off a entire hole to control traffic. When it is dry enough for carts to travel on the turf during those months it is normally not hot enough to cause stress so we again do not need to rope off entire holes. In the late spring and summer months when high turf stress periods begin, we have certain holes that are prone to intense channeling of cart traffic. We have experienced very positive results by proactively relieving the traffic in these areas.
|Cart Directional Sign|
90 Degree Rule vs. Carts Scatter
After observing golf cart activity and driving habits for awhile I have come to the conclusion that the 90 degree rule is rarely observed and can be counter productive as a traffic control measure. First for the rule to be effective players would have to return to the cart path after playing their shot, drive forward on the path and take a 90 degree line to the next shot. Exiting the fairway cut of grass and driving up the rough line only compounds traffic issues encouraging concentrated traffic at the fairways edge which subsequently causes worn out turf. Secondly it appears that most golfers don't follow the rule anyway. The 90 degree rule's implied meaning to most of us is that carts don't have to remain on the path. Another observation, and I could be wrong, but if everyone followed the strict meaning of the 90 degree rule we might have a hard time maintaining the 4:13 pace of play that is part of our Granite Bay culture. The only time that I am in favor of a strict interpretation of "90 degree rule" are times following a rainy period and we are allowing carts off the path and ask that a strict 90 degree back to the path or shells be followed.
|90 degree rule. What does it really mean?|
In a Nutshell
- Use cart paths or walnut shells whenever possible.
- Scatter traffic up the fairway rather then taking a 90 degree line back to the roughs edge and wearing a path there.
- Avoid stressed out turf areas identifiable by a brown or smokey gray color particularly in the afternoon.