Thursday, March 31, 2022

Eagles & Minks

 Early this year, Tom Marx, one of Granite Bays earliest members, reported to me that he had spotted mink footprints in the sand traps near #13 green. I had never saw nor heard of a Mink in our area and immediately did a little research and found out that mink spotting's have indeed occurred not that far from the club. 

Mink, I found out are semi aquatic carnivores that feed on fish and small animals and are usually not spotted far from streams or water and have been spotted as far back as 2016 in the Natomas Basin Conservatory. Well, I spotted one as well scurrying rapidly through the creek while working on the bridge abutment with contractor's on Wednesday 3/30/21. 

The Senior men were playing Wednesday AM, and I was excited to track down Tom Marx and let  him know of my spotting. So I ran into a group looking for Tom, and asked Ed Bauer, who informed me Tom wasn't here that day but that he saw a mink shoot across the lower tee on #14 one day in the recent past. The mink attacked  a ground squirrel and drug it into the brush. So they are here, and where there is one, there are likely more. And they dont dig holes in the turf,  and they feast on other pests that do. I'm a fan. Anyone get a picture of a Granite Bay Mink, drinks are on me. 

Mink Tracks in # 13 bunker courtesy of Tom Marx

This is a pretty close image of what I saw swimming in the creek near the bridge on #14 on Wednesday AM. Not my picture. They are way too fast for me.

So while chatting with Ed and his group, Rick Talbot,  another Granite Bay early member, reminded me of another rare wildlife spotting  we shared just last week. We were near the #13 tee chatting about Ricks recent retirement and newfound desire to conquer the game of golf, when directly above our heads flew an American Bald Eagle. It was 20 to 30 feet  above us and unmistakably an bald eagle. I've seen them flying high here but never as close as this one was.

Picture of a Bald Eagle taken by the Sacramento Audubon Society. The detail depicted in this image is very close to what Rick and I witnessed last week behind #12 green.

I'm looking forward to the day when I have all of our loose ends tied up here at GBGC and can spend more of time conquering the game of golf, if that's even a thing,  and doing more course updates like these. Reminds me of what a special place this is. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Tying Up Loose Ends - part 4

Work on the bridge on #14 continued on Tuesday with installation of the gabion baskets and the tedious work of filling them with rock. The second tier of baskets under the bridge will be a little trickier to fill as the baskets will be a bit tight so we will likely get started on  them  on Wednesday. All in all, the process has been uneventful so far as construction workers and golfers have been in perfect sync.

Awaiting news on sod installation for the upper and middle tee levels of #13 tee. I'm hoping to get sod contractor to install with big rolls which would produce far less seams and allow us to get back on the tee sooner. Below are some pictures of Tuesdays progress.

Tuesday's gabion work

First tier of gabions under the bridge.

First tier getting filled with rock. Second tier on top of this one will present a challenge to fill because of space constraints.

#13 Tee upper and middle levels awaiting sod.


Monday, March 28, 2022

Tying Up Loose Ends - part 3

 Bridge work on #14 got started today with excavation of the broken concrete re-enforcement pieces we quickly installed years ago. Those concrete pieces are being removed for re-purposing or disposal at a later date. Contractor will use gabion baskets filled with rock to shore up the exposed bank and bridge footing. Below are some pictures of first day of work in this area. I'll post more as this project progress's.

Excavator working on Monday getting started on the bridge project on #14.

Web picture example of gabion baskets used to retain control erosion on a creek bed.

Here we are doing some hand excavation under the bridge to facilitate gabion baskets beside the bridge footing to prevent potential erosion. 


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Tying Up Loose Ends - part 2

The rear level of #13 tee was stripped and leveled yesterday 3/23/22 and the middle level will get the same treatment today. Re-sodding of these levels likely the beginning of next week. They will need a couple of weeks to grow-in before we mow them down and open them so we will have tees moved forward until mid to late  April. Same thing on the two upper levels of #15. We are stripping and preparing those levels along with the new rear tournament level of #16 this week. Sodding of those starting today 3/24/22 and finishing up tomorrow. Below are some pictures of progress.

#16 Tournament Level ready for sod.

#16 Tournament Level re-sodded. Sod is overseeded hybrid bermuda. Best of both worlds.

Tournament & Granite Level of #13 Tee leveled and awaiting re-sodding.

Tee markers on 13 will be placed forward during construction and grow in of new sod. Leveled and re-sodded levels should be playable toward the middle part of April. 

Thank You !

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Tying Up Loose Ends

 As mentioned in our last course update as well as in Kevin's recent GM message, we are currently preparing the golf course for daily member play and at the same time tying up 2021 renovation loose ends. Diamond Golf is back to complete a bridge abutment project on #14 along with tying up some loos ends as well. This bridge footing work will clean up the temporary fix we did years ago when a flash flood in the midst of a drought caused a huge rock to slide off the creek bank and exposed the footing of the bridge. The bridge work is a separate project that Diamond golf has been contracted to complete.

Currently working on leveling the new back tee on #16.

A lot of settling occurred on the tee levels on #13. We are going to deal with the top two  levels first and use the bottom two levels for play while we are leveling those.

Salvador Rodriguez back at Granite Bay, strategizing the repair of #14.

I will be sending out multiple short and sweet  updates with mostly pictures while we are going through this phase which also includes the lining and repair of new water feature on #12.

Thank You!

Friday, March 11, 2022

Spring In The Air

It's has been far too long since I updated progress on our new Granite Bay Golf Course creating a lengthy catch up scenario and a mea culpa from the golf course superintendent. Hope this update answers any questions you might have regarding progress on the golf course.

2021 Renovation Summary

Currently the golf course has been open just over five months to the membership after a full course renovation and turf conversion in 2021, which took eight months from February through September. As a reminder we opened the golf course to playable but not pristine conditions, with cart path only as we were still growing in the new course, but wanted to get our members back to playing golf at their club

The scope of the work that was accomplished during the eight month renovation were:

  • resurfacing putting surfaces with creeping bentgrass,
  • adding two additional practice putting greens and expanding the three existing ones,
  • expanding and re-surfacing tees,
  • converting 30 acres of fairways from a cool season mix of turf to Santa Anna hybrid bermuda (which will use significantly less water going forward),
  • a complete bunker renovation and
  • a driving range renovation. 

  • there was a considerable amount of tree work done,
  • substantial changes to golf hole numbers 3, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17 & 18.,
  • we relocated 5,450 tons of granite in the process,
  • completed a significant amount of associated irrigation work,
  • along with recovery of over 50 acres of rough.
This amount of work could have gone beyond a year and squeezing it all in in eight months has produced a lot of loose ends that needed to be tied up afterwards. And we are still in process of tying those loose ends up.

#3 Green complex prior to opening. This is a great example of substantial change 
with an associated 5,450 tons of re-located granite.

Another fact to consider is that from the time we opened in October, a full 75% of our GCM man-hours have gone into maintaining and prepping for play the golf course and its associated infrastructure. That only leaves a fraction of available manhours for the important and visible non-recurring tasks such as:

  • grading and cleaning spoil dumping areas created during construction,
  • repairing split rail fencing damaged during construction,
  • installing fairway and cart path yardage markers,
  • repairing curbing, 
  • refreshing landscaping,
  • continued tree pruning and cleaning,
  • additional tee expansion,
  • irrigation head leveling and further additions.
These are just as some examples. We have a large list of these non-recurring items and are working with the Golf Committee on prioritizing them. 

I can tell you that we are currently awaiting split rail fence material that has been ordered and paid for a month ago and are caught up in the supply chain. As soon as we receive the material we will repair the fence. We plan to install the fairway markers after our initial fairway sand topdressing coming up in April. We are planning installing supplemental irrigation along pond edges on #1 & #9 in which the new windows we opened up on the pond edge will be unsightly without the irrigation help. We are also currently tree pruning and clearing brush  behind #14 green which will lead us up the left hand side of #17 fairway and behind #17 green to Volcano Ridge. This will bring us into spring and the waking up of the new Santa Anna and continued grow-in. 

Sodding a larger bare area on hole #13 on 3/8/22 with Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda. all of the patches visible in fairways is the same exact grass that was sprigged during the summer months and will blend in perfectly when all of the hybrid wakes up this spring. And it is starting to wake up RIGHT NOW! 

2022 Continued Grow In 

Santa Anna Fairways & Tees

The sprigging process of converting from cool season turf to warm season turf like we did to our tees and fairways takes time to establish. This timeframe requires establishment and grow in during the warm season of its first year. Our sprigging process didn't happen all at once, but over several months. We had to get the fairways to full turf cover prior to the onset of cool weather realizing that there was no potential for continued growth November through February. Holes that were sprigged very late in the process such as #12 & #17 we overseeded with cool season grass to provide cover the first winter as we were running out of time to completely fill them in. That cool season grass will be chemically removed when weather warms up and the underlying Santa Anna can completely fill in giving us consistent fairway turf throughout the course.

  All of our first year, first winter issues with fairways and tees such as: small areas with limited coverage, weed encroachment and lack of uniform aesthetics in areas were all entirely predictable. It won't be like this in the future. We will have different strategies available for say weed control that were not prudent for a very young stand of turf in year one.  Once the Santa Anna wakes up from year one, we will refine it with more topdressing and fertility. The fairways you are playing on in this first winter will be totally different moving forward. They will be denser, firmer and weed free.

Bare areas and many uneven areas will grow and fill in with this fertility and topdressing once the turf starts to grow again, and it is waking up right now. If there is any bare area too large to cover quickly by just growing in, we will sod it with the same Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda as we've been doing since October. The patchiness, voids and much of the unevenness will be a thing of the past once we get growing weather to further refine these surfaces.

Fresh sprigs last summer turned into a......

Established fairway. #18 on 3/9/22 starting to green up.

Surround Tie-In's & Rough

Areas around the greens that were not re-sodded during renovation are what I refer to as "tie-in" areas. These areas didn't get seeded until late in the process after we were opened this fall and we had limited success as winter set in, and everything slowed down including cool season seed germination. Winter weather has been dry and daylight hours warm but still not conducive for aggressive cool season turf growth.  (Additionally we are bumping up against a seed shortage that is stalling our current seed order for continued tie in work). That is all changing right now as this year's early spring and longer days is very advantageous for getting these tie-in's right. We plan to take advantage of the good March weather and start prepping these tie-in areas along with the rough this coming Monday 3/14/22 and seeding them when seed arrives, hopefully this week.

Great example of an area that I refer to as a tie-in area. These areas in the green surrounds mostly will start to get worked on this coming week of 3/14/22.

Putting Surfaces

We have started to cut the putting surfaces down and have been topdressing them through winter. We will need to spike them in the near future with small tines to open up airways for continued root development and removal of some of a thin organic grow-in surface layer that is disrupting irrigation infiltration. This nonaggressive procedure should not effect putting quality. Nonintrusive cultural practices are how we hope to maintain these new greens as a poa prevention strategy that also has the added benefit of a consistent putting quality that is not majorly interrupted. The trick to being able to do this is light and frequent applications of sand. 

Putting surfaces have come a long way as well. Rooting mass and depths have improved substantially and as well as surface firmness.


The new bunkers at Granite Bay are smaller and there are fewer of them. They were not designed to accommodate a mechanized rake so we hand rake them every morning. The bright white sand is attractive, but algae growth either thrives or is more visible in this sand, requiring frequent cultivation to aerify the sand to combat the unsightliness of the algae. Another issue with bunkers in general is during dry winter months when irrigation nor rain is occurring, the sand in the bunkers dries out quickly. We can assume our bunker sand dries out quicker then most as it all sits atop a gravel drainage field. And no matter how angular a sand is, if it is bone dry, there is potential for a buried lie. During the growing season bone dry sand is not as much of an issue as irrigation is occurring consistently, but then the algae can become a problem. Recently we have had to irrigate the course because of such dry conditions and the bunkers have benefited from it, but if the sand dries out completely, as can be the case in dry winters such as these, the bunker will play differently.

We recently started smoothing the edges of the bunkers and raking the bottoms to good reviews from membership. The feeling is balls that are traveling across the turf, not necessarily  landing on a fly, have a better chance of settling in the bottom rather then hanging up on a steep face or catching in a lip. The smooth edges are potentially more susceptible to algae growth but we'll deal with that issue if and when it occurs. Regular checking of sand depths is a BMP for maintaining these bunkers as well and we are doing this frequently, adjusting sand distribution to approximately 1.5" to 2" on the faces and 4" in the bottoms.

Greenside bunker LH #2 with smooth edges.


Irrigation system mapping and various wiring issues identified during the mapping process are other behind the scenes items that we have to work on as the irrigation system is key to the golf course survivability and success. This system had substantial modifications during the renovation process and mapping of those changes is crucial to it's management, along with troubleshooting and repairing the recently identified wiring issues compromised during the construction process.

The heart of the irrigation system is our pump station that delivers the irrigation water to the course. This pump station has outlived its effectiveness and now needs replacement. This replacement is slated to commence this spring and will be done in phases as we will potentially need to irrigate the course during this period. I mention these infrastructure items because they are crucial to the courses existence and therefore, indirectly the Member experience.

The Current Granite Bay Pump Station, the heart of our entire operation. It will be replaced shortly in the spring of 2022

Gama working on some wiring issues on the irrigation 
system. These are the kind of issues that keep us up at
night, however progress is being made.


It will still take some time to complete what was started in February of 2021 at Granite Bay Golf Club. It's that simple. It needs a couple of birthdays. I believe this golf course will be great in 2022 as many of the establishment and grow-in issues will be a thing of the past. But I also believe this course has the potential to be even better in 2023 and beyond as it matures even further and accumulates yet another years worth of topdressing sand. Everything we need to accomplish this is in place.

  • The right turf 
  • The right plan
  • The right partnerships
All we need now is time. 

Thanks for your patience and support