Saturday, June 4, 2016

Golf Course Maintenance Weekly 6/3/16 - Upcoming Summer

The Summer Solstice is on June 20th this year and the longest day of the year. Subsequent days become shorter moving towards the Fall Equinox on September 22nd. This summer period is the time most of the turf grass playing surface's at Granite Bay are most prone to stress because of the heat caused by the closer orientation of the northern hemisphere to the Sun. Successfully keeping most of the turf grass playing surfaces alive during this period is our most challenging task in golf course maintenance as the the turf  here at Granite Bay are  predominantly cool season varieties that thrive in temperatures  between 60 - 80. Additionally the time of the year is marked by increased golf course activity adding additional stress to the playing surfaces.

The past few Summer seasons at Granite Bay have been defined by drought restrictions which factored into summer setbacks. Thankfully this year, the Folsom Reservoir benefited from substantial precipitation and snowfall in the American River Watershed. The reason this is good news for Granite Bay Golf Club is that all of our summer irrigation water originates from Folsom Reservoir and the winter success has led the San Juan Water District to revise its conservation levels to a 10% voluntary reduction from 2013's use.

 It is always our goal to keep the course as dry as possible, but we have learned from experience the very fine line between too wet and too dry here at Granite Bay. We will spend a tremendous amount of time managing and micromanaging  the irrigation over the summer season but will not be drying down the course to the point of death this year. It just doesn't make any sense to jeopardize the turf from drought and heat stress over the 94 to 100 day Summer period  and take a big chunk out of the remaining 271 days of the year to recover.

Folsom Reservoir had a unique graph line this year and rest's right at historical average on June 5th.

In addition to only a 10% conservation level this summer season, we will have more budgetary resources  to help protect the turf. These resources include man-power for additional hand watering as well as more funds for plant protection products to help with irrigation penetration into our decomposed granite soils and products to help prevent  Summer disease and insect damage.

Despite an ever improving, state of the art irrigation system there is no substitute for a man on a hose.

Thirdly we will be protecting the course from afternoon cart traffic when days are forecasted to be above 95 degrees by insisting that carts remain on the cart paths in the afternoon's after 1:00 PM. Everyone understands that  golf carts are a way of life for many, but in the afternoons despite all of our efforts in hand-watering and irrigation management, there will be hot spots in the turf. And these hot spots when driven on by a golf cart during these summer afternoons will lead to unsightly damage.

Cart damage showing up already on #4 fairway.

What Can Members Do to Help?

Golf Cart operation on the turf is the biggest thing members can do to help preserve turf conditions during the Summer. When allowed to operate carts on the turf, please enter at the the green tipped stakes at the beginning of the hole and exit at the red tipped stakes near the green. In between the green and red stakes we ask that carts scatter, avoiding obvious stressed or brown areas. Secondly please observe the  cart path only restrictions in the afternoons on days when the high temperatures are forecasted to be 95 degrees or above.

Thirdly understand that during this 100 day or so summer period, the golf course won't be perfect. Conditions in the morning will be wetter then they will be in the afternoon.  Again, there will be countless efforts on the part of the golf course maintenance department to mitigate getting the course overly wet, however experience has shown us that the tipping point between too wet and too dry is acute and making unrealistic promises of year around fast and firm conditions futile. Bottom line it is more important in the grand scheme to be alive by the end of September then being the fastest and firmest we can be in August.


Most if not all golf courses have an ebb and flow to them during a season. The "ebbs" are routinely  exposed on California golf courses that are open year round like Granite Bay. Its no secret that our "ebb" is in the Summer. Our goal this year is to mitigate to a higher level the adverse repercussions of this summer season so we don't spend all fall recovering. The above outlined plans are what we feel will give us the greatest opportunity of success to get through the upcoming summer. Thank you in advance for your support & understanding. 

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