Saturday, December 9, 2023

#5 Green Damage

 During the evening hours of Tuesday 12/5/23 we unfortunately experienced vehicle damage on our #5 green. Tire tracks leading onto and off of the green were leading in the direction of our front gate so we suspect the damage must have occurred sometime before we closed and locked the gates. By examining the "drifting" pattern of the damage, we suspect the vandalism was made by a electric Drift Trike, which is three wheel tricycle, often battery powered and commonly outfitted  with wide rear tires. We are fairly certain the damage was not made with a golf cart or a motor vehicle. Below are some images of the damage and ongoing repairs. 

Damage was located mostly on the left side of the green.

We are fortunate that a turf nursery was installed during our 2021 renovation in the out of play area to the right of #1, between #10 & #11. We have a large nursery green over there that is maintained identically to the regulation greens that we can use sod from for repairing damaged areas. Above depicts repair of some of the erratic damage from Tuesday evening.

Damage was sand topdressed while we are tediously repairing the worst areas to help with putting across the damage. The greens are not actively growing at this time of the year which makes recovery challenging.

As the damage was located on the left-hand side of the green, we will be utilizing the right-hand side for pin placement until the damage is recovered. 

Tree Pruning #10

On Monday 12/4/23 we had some crown thinning tree work done on the large blue oak on #10. The purpose of the thinning was twofold, to lighten the load this very important tree was carrying and to allow for more sunlight to reach the golf playing surface below it. The sod on the left-hand side of this tree has never filled in from the 2021 sprigging. Root competition from the tree itself is surely playing a part in the poor turf conditions, but the main culprit is the trees associated shade to the area. Soon we will be stripping out the Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda there and replacing it with another variety called Tahoma 31 Hybrid Bermuda. Tahoma 31 is ranked among the best bermuda grasses for shade tolerance in all of the hybrid bermuda's. It is locally available and will blend in well with our Santa Anna fairways. We are looking forward to seeing how it performs under this tree.

Selective pruning in process on Monday 12/5/23 to  this all-important tree that splits the fairway on #10

And here is the area below and to the left of the same tree. The split landing area is narrow on both side of the tree so surrounding it with a more shade tolerant cool season rough is not an option. Hopefully the more shade tolerant Tahoma 31 along with some soil conditioning will be a suitable solution.

Winters Coming

We are two weeks away from the Winter Solstice on Friday December 22, 2023. This is the shortest day of the year and every subsequent day will get longer, not necessarily warmer right away as it takes time for the earth to warm up. As of this course update we still haven't seen the rain frequently associated with a El Nino year however some of our rainiest months still lie ahead of us.

I don't know about you, but it seems like we move from one season to the next fairly rapidly nowadays. And this game that we play and work on is a living, breathing evolving playing surface, that flourishes and is challenged by the contrast in seasons and associated weather.  But it's really much more. Granite Bay is a magical place. An Oak Woodland, a habitat for numerous animal and bird species, a business that employees hundreds of people and of course a sanctuary & home away from home for hundreds more. And the approaching Winter Solstice will lead to warmer times, then hotter times then temperate times in what seems to be a rapid succession. I think we are all fortunate to be a part of this place in the world which is cold and wet and hot and dry and beautiful all at the same time.

Thank You for your continued support. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

When Autumn Leaves Start To Fall

 Another consequence of the record rainfall we experienced with last winters rain season and the associated deep soaking of the native soils, was a continued healthy response from our Oak Trees. This is a welcome result, as years of drought have taken their toll on these trees. Combine this with the nice fall weather we have been having and the Oak's are holding onto their leaves a little longer then certainly the recent past. That's all about to change as temperature's continue to decline and  the inevitable rainy and stormy weather starts to transpire.

We are coming up on December and these Blue Oaks continue to hold on to their leaves.

These tow behind turbine blowers are used quite a bit in our daily operations but never as much as in the fall when the leaves start to come down. The task of removing them from the course is not without its challenges as we get reminded every year by a phone call from sleep deprived neighbors that sound carries farther on cold mornings then it does when the temperatures are warmer. This puts us in a bind as we can't get started with the loud blowers and sweepers prior to 7:00 AM October through April. 

Excerpt from the Placer County noise ordinance.

We are blessed with two each of sweeper and turbine blower so we can get some leaves picked up, but will inevitably need to work around member play. Wet weather stalls this process as well as this equipment is heavy and can do some real damage when it is wet. GCM personnel are trained to bounce around to stay productive and out of Members way but there will be times when coexistence will be essential.

Continued Progress Members Green #17

Between normal maintenance practices we have been working at new Members Green near #17 tee. The installation of this green during our renovation in 2021 left many loose ends to take care of, which we started on last year at this time but had to readdress our efforts to tree cleanup and drainage installation following a series of intense winter storms. We now have made some good progress on the area by cleaning up existing trees and exposing rock formations. Additionally, we have been adding some irrigation, re-grading the DG cart path that used to service the Tournament tees on #15 as well as some drainage & sod repair in the area. We still have some good neighbor tree planting to do and further cart path work putting the finishing touches on this area making it much more inviting to get away from the flurry of activity at the Clubhouse and peacefully practice. 

We always look forward to the Fall & Winter season that allows for more non-routine activities. It's rewarding to expose the natural rock formations associated with our golf course evidenced by the native area across the cart path behind #14 green. This area is associated with the area near the new Member Green and Native area on the left-hand side of #17.

Here is the re-purposed path we built years ago the lead up to the old #15 Tournament Tees. Next, we need to install drainage to mitigate rain washouts and add a turn around and parking area at the top of the hill which will service both #15 Tournament Tees and the Turkey Cove Members Green.
We have been working in this area for a while as the work is time consuming and has the same noise restrictions mentioned above.

As we work our way up the left-hand side of #17 we will soon be at Volcano Ridge behind #17 Green.

Happing Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Driving Range Drainage and Fall & Winter Plans

Now that moat of our fall seeding activities has been completed and the tournament season is coming to a close with Jones Cup this past week, we plan to start working on the many "to do" items on our list. One of these items is some more drainage work, this time on the driving range. There are a few sections of drainage that we need to complete on the range so we are tackling the worst one first.

We actually have "to do" lists and plans. Above is an image of the area of drainage we are currently working on in the driving range. This area is a priority because of erosion along left-hand edge of #2 bunker created by record rainfall last winter. 

We expanded the scope of the drainage pattern depicted above. We got started on Monday 11/6/23 and hope to finish the project with a very early morning crew Tuesday through Friday ahead of members warming up. 

Upcoming Leaf Removal

Leaf removal on the course will be intensified this year compared to recent past fall & winters likely another consequence of the near record rainfall amounts of last season. Deep watering via winter storms for the Native Oaks made them very happy and the warm fall weather we have been experiencing has not given them any reason to shed their leaves yet. Its inevitable though, so get ready for the blowers and sweepers to be part of our daily routines.

Leaf removal will be a big part of our plans for the late fall and early winter as the majority of the trees pictured above  have not lost their leaves as of 11/2/23 when this picture was taken.  Most of the trees pictured above are Blue Oaks and will really start to lose their leaves soon but every year is a bit different as they are holding onto the majority of their leaves into November.

2023 GBGC GCM Fall & Winter Plans 

  • Tree Pruning & Brush Clearing - (GBGC Detail Plan)
    • #17
    • #2
    • #18
    • #11
    • #15 FW
    • Nursery Area left of #11
  • Drainage Work - (GBGC Master Plan)
    • Driving Range
    • #18 FW
    • #4 FW
    • DR
  • Irrigation Work - (GBGC Master Plan)
    • #9 Rough
    • #18 Rough
    • #5 Rough
  • Leaf Removal - (GBGC Agronomic Plan)
    • All Over

The above list are other items on our "to do" list that we hope to work on through the fall and winter season in between sweeping up leaves and normal winter maintenance routines. Our practice has always been to take care of the bulk of our tree pruning and brush clearing in the months where turf growth slows down giving us more free time to tackle these tasks, even in the rain if its safe to do so.

Turkey Cove putting green area will start to see some little changes in the very new future in coordination with planting some "Good Neighbor" screening trees.  We plan to do some work on the green to accommodate some short grass for practicing. Additionally we plan to clean along the back of the green to beautify the area and facilitate mowing and while we in the area,  clean the brush and tree limbs from there all the way to Volcano Ridge behind #17 Green.

The Best Is Yet To Come. Thanks for your Support

Saturday, October 21, 2023

The Spectacular Fall of 2023

Thirty days into the Fall of 2023 has proven to be perfect weather for the golf course. Weather has  been ideal for overseeding tees and other hybrid bermuda areas as well as  interseeding cool season rough. It's also been perfect for color and growth of our Santa Anna fairways. The best of both worlds.

However, the long range weather forecasters have been doubling down and now officially declared that El Nino has arrived. What is El Nino was recently discussed by Scripps Oceanography experts who state it is a weather pattern that irregularly shows up every three to seven years and lasts between nine and twelve months. El Nino effects have been associated with some of our wettest years in Northern California but for now, the 2024 El Nino is predicted to be of moderate strength. What does this mean for California and Granite Bay? Time will tell, but the professionals are forecasting above average temperatures & above average rainfall.

What Have We Been Doing with All This Spectacular Weather? 

I mentioned previously we have been doing allot of seeding of the golf course on multiple fronts. We started with seeding rough, which needed recovery from another Granite Bay Summer. We also needed to overseed the tees for winter and just this week decided to overseed some select Santa Anna patches in shady areas near greens. Additionally, we recently got started on some cleanup work in native areas as well as checking some irrigation system infrastructure items off our big list. 

I for one am hoping for this "moderate El Nino" with associated light rainfall and warm temperatures so we can continue on a long list of cleanup areas that was interrupted last fall / winter by major tree ravaging storms and record rainfall. This makes it much easier for us to keep checking things off our list as opposed to constantly cleaning up after devastating weather events. But hope is not a strategy, so we'll wish for the best and prepare for the worst. Enjoy the pictures below of recent progress and near future plans.

This image is a section of rough along the cart path on #12 looking back on the hole. We highlighted the initial recovery seeding of this area in late August (8/24/23). 58 days later the area has recovered. 

It's amazing how perfect weather, adequate irrigation, fertilizer and seed can affect plant life. The thick results of our rough have prompted comments like "when are you going to mow it?".  I can assure you we are mowing the rough and mowing most of it twice a week, it's just very happy right now. 

The tee tops were overseeded just a couple weeks ago. The process was to scarify, clean, seed and sand topdress then irrigate by hand. Above image is what they looked like directly after the process.

And here they are today after all of the seed has germinated. The mowing height for the tees is a little longer then where we normally maintain them, which is normal procedure for newly overseeded tees. These heights will be lowered soon and successful overseeding will provide grass filled teeing surfaces all winter.

Another area that we overseeded and sand top-dressed was our tall fescue collars. This has been long overdue and has already produced great results in density and evening out some grading inconsistencies left over from 2021.

In the center of this image is a section of Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda behind #10 where much of it struggles in the winter months because of associated shade from trees and short days. Rather than struggle with these areas this winter, we decided to overseed them like we did the tees. Continual overseeding of the Santa Anna over time in our transition zone can crowd out the hybrid bermuda and we are right back to where we started, so our plan is to "transition out" the cool season turf in the late spring with products that will slow down the cool season growth allowing the warm season Santa Anna to overtake it so we don't end up back to where we started with soft, poa ridden turf. We applied the same overseeding strategy to sections of Santa Anna surrounds on #2, #3, #6 & behind #13 

The Santa Anna in our Fairways, which for the most part are in the full sun, will not be overseeded and we can keep it a green color by applying iron and pigment all winter, weather permitting A best management practice before going into winter with these surfaces is the raise the height of cut. We do this so we don't wear out the surfaces in winter with cart traffic because it is not growing which can lead to surfaces worn out to dirt. This raising the height of cut is what causes the puffy appearance in the surfaces. We hope to mitigate this puffiness with some new equipment in the future, but the process of raising this height of cut is essential to the health and playability of the surfaces through winter. 

Our putting surfaces have been performing well as fall brings a time where irrigation can be scaled way back. Less irrigation means firmer surfaces, firmer surfaces mean faster surfaces that are less prone to ball marks. Faster & firmer and less ball marks means better greens. We are still working on getting deeper rooting into our new greens and our overall lens in which we maintain the greens from a cultural standpoint is do whatever it takes to prevent poa annua. So the strategy remains small deep holes and light sand topdressing frequently, keep our surface density tight and continue our efforts to get more root depth and root density allowing us to irrigate less during the heat of summer.

The small hole, deep tine aeration that we planned the end of September (9/25/23) was postponed due to mechanical issues with the Vertidrain Aerator. We were not able to re-schedule until this coming Monday 10/23/23. Our plan is the same, small holes and a medium amount of sand. In the following days putting quality will still be good albeit a bit slower for a short period of time.

We face ball marks like this every morning when we mow greens. No matter what the condition of the greens are, wet or dry, it is the responsibility of the golfer to repair the ball mark. This is an example of a mark that we can assume was made late in the day that the golfer didn't even try to find and repair it. The greens are not fragile like they were in October of 2021. We might lack root density in the 6"to 8" depth but we have plenty of root density in the 4" to 5" depth, so I believe our issue with ball mark repair is still more of a will to do it rather than a technique in repair. Our stated goal is to make these greens so hard that ball marks will be difficult to make but we as a club have a way to go on the will part of mitigating ball marks. More to come on this. 

We had an opportunity to utilize some contract labor from a contractor who was between jobs recently and we jumped on it to get some small soaker sprinklers installed around a few bunkers. We addressed the two left hand fairway bunkers on #2 as well as the two right hand fairway bunkers on #4.  Additionally, we addressed the lone left-hand bunker on #15. This work along with all of the above-mentioned seeding has made for a productive and successful first 30 days of fall in 2023.

Starting in November we plan to pick up where we left off last fall / winter season with cleaning and pruning the area behind #14 green and adjacent to Turkey Cove putting green all the way to the back of Volcano Ridge behind #17 green.

Additionally, directly behind the Turkey cove green we will be planting some good neighbor screening using some live oaks. More to come on this as well.


Fall is a busy time of the year for golf and for golf course maintenance at Granite Bay Golf Club. Even when we mitigate summer losses in the rough, there will always be seeding and aerating to do because it is one of the most opportune times of the year to renovate and grow grass and prepare for winter which is necessary for year-round golf. It's also a great time of the year to play golf and have member events and host tournaments. This conflict has always been a part of Granite Bays history and I will say a conflict for most golf operations in our marketplace because in this transition zone we can play golf all year round. Some conflict is part of the dynamic nature of a year-round golf course just like weather and seasonal changes.  Always has been, likely always will be. 

Onward, forward. The best is yet to come.

Thank You for Your Support. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Fall Equinox 2023

 This week on Saturday 9/23/23 at 02:50 AM, the 2023  Fall Equinox will be upon us. 

"During an equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator”—an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the Sun’s center passes through this line." (Farmers Almanac September 19 2023)

The fall equinox is significant for GBGC as it is the best time of the year for our cool season rough to recover from summer stresses as nighttime and daylight hours are identical and  temperature's are typically cooler. Conversely our Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda will start to slow down as the days get shorter and  winter approaches. The hybrid bermuda will remain green for quite awhile, but recovery from divots will start to get slower and slower. 

Rough Seeding

In  the previous GBGC course update we addressed getting started on our fall  rough seeding early, and the late summer weather forecast  which was projecting some cooler then normal temperatures conducive to successful cool season seeding. The forecast held and we had  success getting some seed germinated in some of the worst areas of our rough that were impacted by yet another Granite Bay summer. We have a lot more seeding to do in our rough and this combined with this seeding we started in August should have us turning the corner on yet another summer at Granite Bay. 

This is us getting started with the seeding process late summer on Thursday 8/24/23. August would  be considered early for cool season turf seeding.

Here is the same area 27 days later, although the photo was taken at a different time of the day. I think getting started early paid off as many of our bare areas at least had some turf started in them 30 days before the equinox when cool season turf really starts to get going. 

We had our final seed delivery this morning 9/22/23. Above represents 5 ton's of  Tall Fescue seed on top of the 6 tons that has already been seeded into the golf course rough. It has been our observation that Tall Fescue germinates relatively quickly but takes a little longer to thicken up and establish as compared to Ryegrass.

Cart Traffic & Seeding

The more golf cart & vehicle traffic we keep off of the rough the better success we will have with the seeding process. Thank you for using the gates and driving only on the fairways. Pass the word, avoiding driving golf carts in the rough will be extremely beneficial to the  germination and establishment of the fescue seed we have been and will be putting down the next few weeks. 

Good image of #12 and where we should be driving carts and where we should not.

Greens Spiking

This coming Monday we will be spiking and topdressing the greens. As planned, we have been implementing the strategy of  timely, small hole frequent aeration events on our new greens in conjunction with frequent light sand topdressing. This Mondays event will be the the same small hole event we have been implementing, but the hole pattern will tighter then what we have utilized in the past. The holes will still be 6" deep and this tighter pattern will require more sand to fill them up which is precisely what we want. Deep holes equal deeper roots, and more sand equals firmer conditions that are less prone to ball marks and need less irrigation. The process could have a temporary minimal impact on putting quality mostly because of the extra sand to fill the additional holes, but aggressive rolling will provide a smoothness, however the pace will be slower for a few days. 

We made a practice run with the new tine configuration on the nursery green this week prior treating all of the greens on Monday 9/25/23. Picture depicts the tighter pattern with no sand or greens rolling yet. After a greens-roller rolls the surface, the holes will  hardly be noticeable and will not interfere with putting quality.

Above is the same green still not rolled or topdressed. We are excited about this new aeration configuration and the  process over time being transformative for our greens.

Winter Forecast

Dr. Daniel Swain is a climate scientist at UCLA and the 2022 co-author of the thought provoking  Climate change is increasing the risk of a CA megaflood, Dr. Swain has been our go to resource for long term weather prognostications long before his infamous article, and he has recently made a prediction for the upcoming winter.

Where Granite Bay positions in this Pacific SW or Pacific NW is anyone's guess.  What we do know is wet winters affect golf course playability as well triggering cart restrictions, nothing new here.  The drainage work we did last winter should serve us well in the event of another wet winter, but if its anything like last year it really limits what we can do on the golf course, so part of me is hoping for dry conditions so we can get more done, and part of me thinks, let it rain as we always could use it here in the west. No use wishing or worrying. Onward, forward.

Thanks For Your Support. The Best Is Yet To Come!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Seeding The Rough

The cool season turf in our roughs has thinned and struggled in many areas of the course this summer, which is nothing new, but nonetheless disappointing. Our 2021 renovation didn't address the rough other then turning off the irrigation for months and driving on them with heavy equipment. Irrigation of the rough resumed in phases as we started watering fairway sprigs which revived some of the sturdiest rough turf like common bermuda. However much of the bare earth sprouted weeds such as Common Purslane which we never combatted here before 2021 and continue to combat into 2023.

Common Purslane at GBGC.
All parts are edible. It has a slightly salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, North Africa, The Middle East, Asia & Mexico."
(wikipedia - portulaca oleracea).
GCM staff uses it in salads. Our current strategy is to hand pull the areas where we have heavy infestation. Yours truly has been therapeutically leading the charge on removal, and been getting 10 to 20 gallons per day for the past couple weeks although I haven't tried it in my salad.

When fall of 2021 finally arrived and we reopened the course from renovating, we were in the process   of seeding the rough with Tall Fescue and followed up that seeding with another in the fall of 2022. The choice of Tall Fescue, a hardier cool season turf, was made because of the treelined style of our course and associated shade which the new hybrid bermuda fairway turf would not be able to thrive in, and the cool season fescue could.  Our strategy and hope was that by just getting this hardier and more heat tolerant Tall Fescue established in the rough, we would solve many of our issues. Nothing like a Granite Bay summer to produce a reality check. Heat and difficult soil is a bad combination and cool season turf is still cool season turf, and will now and  always be the weak link at Granite Bay in the summer. If we do not do the right things in the right season to our cool season rough such as  core aeration in the spring, we are likely to experience the same results. We have much more to do, but first things first. Recovery.

We are getting started with seeding into our rough a little early this year.  Typically, we wait until the weather cools down near or after the fall equinox on 9/23/23 to start seeding, but we wanted to get started earlier to hasten recovery in the thin areas of our rough. This is also due to the hardiness of the tall fescue variety we are trying to convert our roughs to. Our observations are that it comes up quickly but takes some time to establish so we hope that the warmer weather of late summer early fall will help with this establishment. It's a bit of a gamble, as there is still summer to be had, and our soil temperatures are a little higher than ideal for Fescue germination, but fingers crossed we could be on our way to recovery by the equinox. 

Triwave Seeder seeding  thinned out rough on #12 the morning of Thursday 8/24/23.

The great thing about the Triwave Seeder is that it is minimally invasive to the existing stand of turf  which is ideal as the plants that have survived summer will and are starting to thrive with shorter days and cooler nights and will be apart of the recovering turf stand. 

Closeup of the slicing of the Triwave Seeder through existing turf and the little to no damage created by the seeder.

Cart Restrictions Return

We have not had any cart path restrictions since June purposely so The Membership could fully enjoy the golf course this summer. As we start to seed, we will have to return to  cart restrictions on certain holes to keep cart traffic from hindering new seed germination and establishment. We will close the individual holes utilizing the hole closed signs. On holes that have not been closed we plan to vigorously promote the use of the entrance & exit gates and  driving exclusively on fairways as the  fairway turf can handle the traffic and the newly seeded rough cannot. Many members are already following this protocol, so a push to get even further compliance will pay dividends in the recovery of our cool season rough. 

Holes closed during seeding will be identified in AM e-mail communication from the golf shop as well as our cart path only signs.

Original overhead description of utilizing the gates to both enter and exit the hole and drive exclusively on the fairway turf  while our rough is recovering this late summer through the fall.

Non-Negotiable Rough Aeration

Its easy to neglect the rough in the springtime when there is a myriad of things to do on the golf course and the rough seems pretty good. And springtime core aerating and culturing is very time consuming and typically hindered by weather, so the job stretches out. But summer is coming, and the reality is that the springtime aeration and cultural practices to the rough as well as some irrigation infrastructure improvements are essential to mitigating cool season turf losses and mediocrity of our rough in the summer. Non-negotiable aeration doesn't mean we have to close the golf course, just limit cart traffic on the holes we are working on, a few holes at a time. More importantly it means that it must be done no matter how many projects we have on our plate. GCM can do multiple things at a time, but moving forward, putting off or skipping springtime core aeration of our rough has to be a non-negotiable. 

Refreshing Bunker Sand

We started some Bunker Sand Refreshing back in May and have picked up where we left off targeting the completion of the greenside bunkers. We still have to re-fresh sand in  the greensides on #2, #14, #15 & #17. The timing of the refreshing has been somewhat contingent on sand delivery which is coming all the way from Idaho. Below are some pictures of recent progress.

White gold in the parking lot.

Adding new sand to rear bunker on #15.

Spreading the new sand on #17.

Tire packing the sand in #15 with a sand pro.


I've said it before that golf courses are a dynamic, living and breathing thing that we play a game on. Summers come and summers go yet they always leave a mark on most to all of our regional golf courses in one degree or another,  and likely always will. I've experienced 15 of them here at Granite Bay and we are no exception. But I still believe that the best summers are yet to come for Granite Bay and I couldn't have said that before 2021. Onward, Forward.

Thank You For Your Support