Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Winter Progress

Our great game is an outdoor game constantly subject to the whims of nature and weather. I think this is part of its charm, it greatness. So yet again the weather dictates our path for maintenance, as well the surface conditions. As the chart indicates below the winter of 2012 - 2013 has been as strange as any other. Close to records amounts of precipitation in November and December followed by more freezing cold weather then we have seen in years. Now midway through February we have recorded a tiny fraction of normal rain with nothing substantially forecast in sight.

Granite Bay Golf Club Historic Rainfall                                                    
                     Jan   Feb   Mar  Apr May Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec     Totals
2013 0.71   0.01                                                                                                 0.72
2012 3.76   0.62  6.74  4.45  0.08  0.15  0.00  0.00  0.00  0.42  6.99  7.91      31.12
2011 1.73   4.89  7.70  0.36  2.75  1.43 0.00  0.00  0.00  4.13  0.89  0.17      24.05
2010 5.63   0.92  1.94  3.60  1.38  0.06 0.00  0.00  0.00  3.08  3.61  7.67      29.89
2009 2.03   4.91  2.20  1.25  1.84  0.20 0.00  0.00  0.13  1.53  0.70  3.58      18.37
Historic         4.30   3.50  3.90  1.90  0.50  0.30  0.10  0.10  0.50  1.60  4.00  3.50      24.20

Frost delay were common place this winter with a stretch of
16 day straight where we had frost delays this year

The golf course is more off color then past winters primarily due to the amount of freezing weather and frost we experienced in January where we had 16 straight frost delays. Frosty cold weather is  usually associated with dry weather and  because nothing is really growing when its cold like that we get the kind of surface firmness that make for great golfing conditions. It is very unusual to do so in February but we have had to water the golf course 4 times this month where we usually don't even think about it.

Winter Projects
The lack of rain does help with winter project progress as wet sloppy weather is always a hindrance. As planned we started after the first of the year on pruning the overgrown screen of shrubs along Barton Road.  Unfortunately this mass of Photinia and Acacia had had little attention since being installed in the late 1990's and this are not the kind of  plant material that does well with no attention. We ended up removing the Acacias which were brittle, split falling over and we cut back the Photonia as far back as we dare. Our intention was not to open up this massive hedge as much as we did, it was just one of those situations that a little "pain" was necessary so we have a manageable situation moving forward. The Photinia (this is that super common hedge that has the bright red new foliage in the spring)  will start it aggressive spring push shortly and recover some of the exposed openings as well as some fresh plantings of multi-stemmed Live Oak to fill some of the holes left by by the removal of the Acacia.

Re- establishing the walking only path in front of the #17
tee in January

Walking path completed after installing new fine fescue
sod. This was the  original design intent of the hole and
grew into a short cut for carts over the year's. We now
insist cart traffic follow the cart path around before
entering the #17 fairway.

After finishing the Barton Road pruning we started working winter projects on multiple fronts. First we started some of the same irrigation work we have done in the last two winters where we improve coverage in areas that we know struggle in the summer months requiring inordinate amount of hand watering. This is the most exciting work for us because of successes the additions have provided everywhere we have completed them in the past. It is this behind the scenes, underground kind of stuff that  make a huge difference in our goal of making Granite Bay firmer up the middle in the summer months as we can focus our hand watering efforts there.

Irrigation coverage enhancements in progress. Some of
the most important work that can be done to this  golf
course continues.
What kind of winter season would it be without re-claiming some of the encroaching native brush  and cleaning it up. As planned this year we are working on the  left hand side of #13. Opening up this area will provide much needed air movement and light to the turf along the left side of this hole primarily up towards the green where the cart path makes a left. Turf in this area struggles in the winter from low light and never really gets good due to a bottle neck of cart traffic and our inability to rope the hole off for traffic control due to the difficulty of navigating the steep, often time's wet bank. Thinning the area out will provide a better look at the green if you happen to end up on the left, which hardly ever happens, but strategic trees will remain and have to be accounted for .

Working on  clearing and pruning to the left of #13.
This area will be completed towards the end of February
Other winter projects that are just wrapping up is landscaping the new Granite Bay Teaching Academy. Another maintenance project in progress is replacing missing yardage markers on sprinklers heads and raising the low heads and valve boxes in the fairways. We also pledge to be more consistent in keeping these marked heads clean so players can utilize the yardages. Yardage plaques are also being moved as we have determined yardages are way off in some cases.

Granite Bay Teaching Academy landscaping in progress

Sprinkler trimmed and labeled waiting for a yardage
marker replacement.

Capitol Golf Course Projects
Granite Bay received a generous amount of capitol funds to improve the club in 2013 and there are many Golf Course projects and improvements that have been pre-approved and are now going through the final  funding allocation process. Project's such as aeration systems for both of our golf course ponds that will be a big step towards water quality and clarity. The irrigation work that I spoke of above has been fully funded for every area on the golf course that  we have identified. This is huge along with the future commitments to upgrades and modernization of the most important infrastructure system we have at the club, our irrigation system.

New state of the art triplex greens mowers  part of  our 
Capitol allocation.
Re modeling of the  ladies course restrooms is a high priority along with more lighting to illuminate the rocks in front of the 10th tee. This is more of a ambiance issue for the clubhouse but we have to trench through parts of the golf course to do it. New ball washers are coming as well as new practice area netting all with the goal of making the club more relevant and the home away from home that our members can be proud of. And I haven't even mentioned all of the fire pits, new seating and  Bocce Ball Court that are in process for the clubhouse area along with painting and woodwork replacement. 

We will provide details and progress reports as we go through the process of these improvements in this very exciting time at Granite Bay Golf Club.

Warmer weather  greener grass and trees are just
around the corner.