Friday, May 27, 2022

Goose Patrol

 Any of us who have been either playing golf or working on the golf course this spring couldn't of helped but notice the increased Canadian Geese population and the excrement they leave behind. Each goose can eat four pounds of grass per day which turns into two pounds of you know what. Geese believe it or not, are still state and federally protected under laws and regulations within the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the California Fish and Game Code.

#12 seems to be the new hang out spot for migratory geese. Easy access to food and the lake for escape predators is my guess as to why they now like this location.

It is legal to utilize non-lethal hazing methods to pressure migratory geese to depart the golf course, but the hazing pressure must be maintained so the geese population doesn't get comfortable and start to nest and make granite Bay Golf Club their home. Granite Bay is a very desirable nesting location for geese as we have wide open food sources, safety with pond escapes as well many hidden nesting locations in the riparian areas. And despite all of our hazing efforts there are always a few families that escape the hazing pressure and hatch here every year. 

A few Gaggle's  of geese are tolerable and fit our  Audubon Signature Sanctuary Status, but if all of the migratory geese pairs that pass through GBGC were allowed to propagate we would have one mess on our hand, particularly as legal hazing efforts are substantially limited  when goslings cannot fly.

Gaggles of geese are inevitable here at GBGC. We do try to put extra pressure on during mating season to prevent inundation, but a few always slip through. 

I believe the new renovation, opening up the course has made Granite Bay more desirable  this year and is the reason for our increased population. We have over the years utilized many hazing and deterrent methods from realistic coyote manikins to lasers  and flashing lights in the ponds, as well as spraying  non toxic deterrents on the turf. The only process that has consistently worked to keep the population to a manageable level, has been hazing with trained Border Collie's.

Some of us remember the very realistic coyote scare crows we used to have on the course. Even with frequent moving of the twenty or so that we had, the geese figured them out, rendering this hazing method ineffective.

Granite Bay has been using Dog & Whistle Goose Control since 2009 to legally harass the goose population. Recently we did have to step up the pressure to get some of the troublesome populations that that had figured out our hazing patterns. The extra pressure has made a difference and populations have substantially decreased since early spring. Again having a few geese around fits Granite Bay which is a good thing because getting rid every goose all the time is probably not possible.

Jane from Dog & Whistle Goose Control speaks with a group of Granite Bay kids during a nature walk right here at granite Bay Golf Club in 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Vertical Mowing Fairways

We started verticle mowing the fairways this week to groom the turf and mechanically remove seed head stalks that have developed this spring on our Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways. This seed head is obstructing the green grass blades and contributing to the brownish  color of our fairways this spring.  Hybrid bermuda does produce a seed head, as does all turf grass varieties, but like poa annua can produce seed heads at close mowing heights. The seed produced from all hybrid bermuda  seed heads is not viable which is why all hybrid bermuda varieties need to be propagated with either sprigs, like we did last year, or by sod, like we did to #17 in 2019 as our beta for the  hybrid bermuda conversion in 2021.

Its common to see seed head on Santa Anna or any hybrid bermuda in mid May through beginning of June. This year has been different with the alternating  hot & cold & rainy  periods we have been having. Colleagues with whom I've spoken with, that have more Santa Anna experience, are reporting the weather is the likely culprit for more then normal seed head production. I also believe the immaturity of our Santa Anna Fairways  has created a situation for more heightened seed head production. As the fairway surfaces mature, I believe we wont see the volume of seed head we are seeing in year one. 

Vertical mowing of the fairways will definitely help groom the seed head out of the fairways and promote tight verticle growth, which is what we want. We started this process for the first time on our fairways on Monday 5/16/22 and finished the front nine on Tuesday 5/17/22. We will do the same to holes 10-13 on Wednesday 5/18/22 and finish the back nine on holes 15-18 on Thursday 5/19/22. The next time we do this we can likely finish the front nine on a closed Monday, then take a couple mornings to finish the back nine. We are going need to do this 4 to 5 times this initial season and likely 3 times at least in subsequent seasons. As a reminder, all cultural practices such as these will always be done when the Santa Anna is actively growing. None of these types of activities will be done fall through early spring, just late spring through summer. Its a small window admittedly, but hybrid bermuda recovers almost immediately from these activities and needs these practices to tighten up as well as .....

"More Sand"

Old Tom Morris's famous battle cry
"More Sand"

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Close-up of Santa Anna seed head. Seed head stalks don't cut easily, and when stripped of dark purplish seed  turn brown contributing to brownish hue in fairways this spring.

Vertical mowing will groom out the seed head and trim horizontal hybrid bermuda runners 
creating more upright verticle growth. 

Close up of the verticle mowing blades. Currently the depth of penetration when  of these blades is fairly shallow at 1/4" when cutting unit is set down on the turf surface. There will come a point we will need to go deeper but not this year.

After the verticle mowing we have to sweep up the debris 

After sweeping we mow. Mowers are currently set at .400", which is slightly below 1/2". Mowing is necessary as verticle mowing stands leaf blades and seed head stems up and they need to get mowed flat to promote new growth.

After a double cut with the fairway mower,  we need to blow the remaining clippings off of the fairway. So you can see the 4 step process take's 4 GCM EP's 5 hours ahead of member play to complete about 4 holes. You should start to see a difference in fairway texture and color very quickly and combine this with a full course fertility application next Monday we should be looking at some very thick and green conditions come Memorial Day.

I want to remind everyone that  we are still culturing and growing in turf from the renovation of 2021 and a earlier course update addressing Tying Up Loose Ends, from only March said it best at the end. 

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

Friday, May 13, 2022

Driving Range Tee Back On Grass

Below is a message from our  Head Golf Professional Michael Nicoletti announcing the re-opening of the grass tee on the driving range. Great graphic as well. It totally makes sense that the new Hybrid Bermuda will recover very quickly with this wear pattern. Thanks Mike!  

Granite Bay Golf Club is happy to announce that we will begin utilizing our new and expanded grass teeing area on the driving range. We will be using the grass range tee Thursday through Sunday beginning this week. We are excited to be able to offer this upgraded practice experience. The driving range will continue regular hours, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. On days we use the front of the tee, there will be a restriction on the length of shots. Please make sure to observe any signage or distance limitations on these days. We appreciate your support.

When using the driving range, to have it in pristine condition for you as much as possible, please find how to use grass areas in the picture below. Making strips of divots by hitting balls from the back of the previous divot will allow the grass to grow back almost twice as quickly. Please try to remember this when out getting some range time in.  

Friday, May 6, 2022

Topdressing & Golf Carts

This past week marked some  significant events here at Granite Bay Golf Club Golf Course Maintenance. First the completion of our first post renovation Fairway Topdressing and second the return of golf carts on the course. The fairway topdressing went as planned, and I think showed us the potential of what subsequent topdressings this year and beyond will do to these new Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda Fairways. 

The carts getting back on the course just happened yesterday, 5/5/22, and I'm sure carts back on the course was a very welcome change for many members. Unfortunately, I dident order enough of the  black stakes with white tips we are using as on and off  gates I mentioned in last weeks update. So we improvised with some of the shorter stakes we used in the past. More proper stakes to arrive next week and I'm sorry about any confusion the smaller stakes might have caused in the short term. 

Here are some Pictures

Above are the gates we will use throughout the course
as planned.

Great example of Granite Bay Member, Don Darst not driving on the course when it wasn't necessary even though cart path only restrictions had been lifted.

Temporarily we are using some of these small stakes for gates. 

Topdressing Fairways at 50 tons per acre last week.

After allowing the sand to dry a little, we drag it into the Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda turf canopy.

After dragging, before irrigation which moves sand further into turf canopy.

If you were playing golf this past week you probably noticed another project we started and completed. We installed irrigation to water the pond banks on #1 & #9. This irrigation allows us to water these fairly steep banks independently of the new Hybrid Bermuda which will have a much lower irrigation requirement then the pond bank of what we plan to convert to cool season tall fescue. In order to accomplish that we needed to have independent irrigation.

And here is the new irrigation in operation.