Monday, April 24, 2023

Spring Has Finally Sprung

2023 has so far  been a unusual year for weather here at Granite Bay Golf Club. By now we all are likely aware of California's record breaking snow & rainfall accumulation's in 2023. And although GBGC's rainfall amounts were not record breaking, we recorded to date 32.68" of rain which is the 3rd highest in 18 years. Additionally spring weather has been cooler then normal which hinders the awakening of our new hybrid bermuda fairways. All of this is in the rear view mirror now as we are now experiencing temperatures in the 80's,  with plenty of sun and almost 14 hour days. Summer will be here before you know it.

The week of April 17th we finished aeration and topdressing of the back nine fairways. Weather was cooler then we would have liked for recovery but we are getting the temp's now, so recovery will be rapid. Additionally we have diversified our   Canadian Geese Hazing or harassments efforts by employing  additional pressure from Dog & Whistle Goose Control as well as adding some solar lighting on the water that will irritate floating sleeping geese. See pictures below.

You might have noticed some floating foreign objects in the ponds recently. These objects look like lights because they are. The devices are a flashing solar  light from Away With Geese  that activates flashing lights with a photocell, and that add additional harassment to Geese who like to sleep on the water. Our geese population numbers are tracked weekly by Dog & Whistle, and with the addition of the lights and added dog hazing pressure has brought our Geese numbers down significantly.

Early morning picture of the lights flashing. We have used these lights many years ago with limited success, but not in conjunction with the dog hazing. A shout out and thank you is warranted for Jim Beckmeyer & Keith Benfield who conducted allot of research on solutions to our Goose  problem.

More from the GBGC Animal Kingdom

Last Friday 4/21/22 we had a escaped visitor trucking around the course pictured here with our own Michael Nicoletti. 

Here he is, taking a stroll along the cart path before crossing into the native area.

Here he is again, looking really good in that freshly mowed fescue. He was obviously someone's pet and after a short incarceration for trespassing, he was reunited with his local family. 

If the above pictures of our visitor are not enough to remind us of what a special place GBGC is to be a part of , here is another reminder. A recent sunrise captured by our own GBGC GCM employee partner Amanda Bergstrum.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Spring Fairway Topdressing 2023

As planned on Monday April 10th, 2023 we started aerating and sand topdressing the fairways at Granite Bay Golf Club. The plan was to aerate and topdress the front nine fairways the week of April 10th on a Monday and Tuesday and follow up with the same process on the back nine on Monday and Tuesday of the following week. On the Mondays the club would be closed and on the Tuesday's  we would alternate front nine and back closures so the process could be completed in a productive manner, as well as keeping Member disruption to a minimum. 

Below are pictures of the process in a somewhat sequential order for those who are interested. Additionally we have some pictures covering a deep tine aeration of the front nine greens we did while the front nine was closed. Don't worry, the process is very non-disruptive but extremely beneficial.

Step #1 is to flag the sprinkler heads, valve boxes & yardage markers. Colors of the flags mean something. White for a sprinkler head or yardage marker. Pink for a sprinkler head or valve box that needs raising or leveling and  red for a valve box. Flagging these items is essential because the aerifyer to follow will destroy them.

Step #2 - Aerify. We are punching solid holes that are 5/8" X 2"- 3" deep. The tufting around the holes is due primarily to the height of the Santa Anna  Hybrid early in the season. If you recall, it is a best management practice to raise the height of cut of the Santa Anna prior it going dormant in the winter. This allows for better winter play and protects the Santa Anna stand from wear and tear when it is not growing. This tufting will mow out and recover quickly as the weather starts to be more conducive to Hybrid Bermuda growth and recovery. 

Step #3 - Apply Topdressing Sand. This is the slow process. It takes time to move the strategically placed sand and spread onto the fairways. And it takes time and hopefully warm weather to dry that sand out so we can get it drug into aeration holes and the turf canopy. 

This is what #1 fairway looked like after we topdressed it. This represents 30 tons per acre. We switched sand this year to a washed tee sand that is substantially more consistent then what we used in 2022. It is also a little coarser which is agronomically better for Hybrid Bermuda as the finer sands will hold on to more moisture then necessary and this washed sand will drain better which will lead to a drier playing surface which is what we all want.

Step #4 - Dragging the Topdressing Sand. This is an end of the day process which really needs the sand to be dry in order to drag it into aeration holes and turf canopy. It is also a dusty process that should not be done in the presence of golfers. We use a keystone mat to drag in the topdressing and on subsequent days we use our turbine blowers to disperse the pockets of sand that accumulates here and there, and help push the sand into the turf canopy where it belongs. 

Another look at the dragging process with a better look at the keystone mat.

After an evening watering and mowing. 

Close-up after some irrigation and mowing. Subsequent blowing with our big turbine blowers, as obnoxious as they are, will help disperse and push the sand further into the turf canopy, but in a very short period of time with some warm weather the Santa Anna will fill  in and grow right through the sand. 

Remember the pink flags we spoke of earlier in step #1? Above depicts the work that was being done by multiple GCM workers doing during this aeration and topdressing process. This particular picture shows a large amount of sod removed and replaced after leveling a sprinkler head and the area surrounding the head. This work will go along way to "finishing" these fairways. We had over 100 pink flags on the F9.

Putting Surface Deep Tine Aeration

The re-building process we did to our greens in 2021 is referred to as "re-surfacing" not a complete re-build. We basically removed 4-6 inches of sod and sand, replaced that with a new greens mix sand, shaped and seeded into that. The remaining 6-8 inches of old sand remained. Rooting of the new bentgrass into this older sand / greens mix is positively impacted by the presence of air. That is what this deep tine aeration will do, provide columns of air in which the deep rooting bentgrass will go.

The benefits of deep rooting are multifaceted with the main one being we can deep water the greens more effectively creating a scenario where we dont have to irrigate them as frequently. Less frequent irrigation means a firmer surface. A firmer surface means a truer, faster surface that is not as prone to ball marks. All things that we are striving for.  Below are pictures of the process. 

Here is our Verti-Drain Deep Tine Aerator on the nursery green. This is the first time we have used this process on these young greens and we were very impressed with how the greens handled the procedure. There was no heaving of the surface requiring rolling afterwards and no damage to the greens.

When I mentioned above there was no damage to the greens, I say this because this is a violent machine that drives a coordinated series of steel spikes 7" into the green. The greens have to be in a firm state, and you have to have the right operator, but the risk reward can be huge in time. Deep roots equal great putting surfaces.

Here is the finished product. Holes that are spaced out 4" to a depth of 6" - 7". These holes are 1/8"-1/4" max in diameter and do not effect putting quality. We dident topdress the greens  afterwards this time but the process can be done with a light topdressing as well. 

Friday, April 7, 2023

2023 Spring Fairway Aeration & Topdressing & Drainage Update #9

Starting next week we will be aerifying and topdressing the new Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways here at GBGC. Last spring, when we conducted this process we did not do alternating back nine &  front nine closures as the membership had just recently started using the course after the 2021 renovation. During our planning processes for 2023 we changed that strategy, providing GCM some alternating closures during the season to conduct these necessary cultural practices. This allows GCM the time to properly and productively get this work done and not inconvenience the golfing membership while doing so.

We have two planned fairway topdressing's and associated cultural activities planned in 2023. The first of which is scheduled for the week of April 10th and the week of April 17th.  The second will be the week of  July 10th and the week of July 17th. Splitting front 9 and back nine operations gives us adequate time to properly complete the work and allows us to get 18 holes open by the end of both weeks so as not to inconvenience membership further. Below is a detailed schedule for the upcoming fairway aeration next week. Pictures and process details will be in the next course update for those who are interested.

This pile of FW topdressing sand represents 160 tons that will be spread on hole #'s 1, 2, 3 & 4. That will amount to 30 tons per acre which is about the maximum we can apply in one application. More details and pictures of actual progress coming next week. 

2023 Drainage Update #9

On Monday April 3rd, GCM started to address the chronic drainage issue on the right hand side of #2 fairway. Any of us who have been around for any length of time know that this area has always had a drainage problem, long before the renovation or turf conversion. The issue is the fairway slopes into a low drainage inlet that is in the afternoon shade of the oak trees. We dident address the shade issue at this time but did provide some additional drainage to get the water off of the fairway surface more rapidly. Pictures below of progress.

Above the crew took advantage of a closed Monday and dug out and installed almost 300' of surface drainage.

Much of the sod in the area needed to be replaced especially around the drainage inlet. Above Enrique and Liborio starting to lay new Santa Anna sod.

The drainage inlet  (DI) in the area, where all of the surface drains were tied into, needed to be raised slightly and soil around it removed and replaced with gravel which is a common practice when we tie in surface drainage to the DI. 

Not the final product, but the completed product after we dug and installed the drains and re-placed the sod  and sand topdressed. The final product awaits the Santa Annas continued awakening, filling in all the sod seams. 

On Thursday 4/6/23 we started addressing another bad drainage issue on the left hand side of #17 where the old sand trap resided, about 115 yards out. The area boasts another bad combo of a depressed water shedding drainage area that is associated with winter shade. This might be the last bit of drainage work we tackle for awhile as the season transitions into spring, and our labor resources are allocated to spring time duties. This is not the last area that needs drainage work, far from it, but we now must move on to more seasonal duties like the above mentioned fairway aeration and topdressing.

Enrique Huerta (right) & Liborio Quintana (left)  had allot of help, but spearheaded this winters seasons drainage work where we installed over 2000  feet of much needed surface drainage on this new golf course. They were much deserved Granite Bay Golf Club's  co-employees of the month in March.

Sunrise at GBGC on 4/6/23. Photo taken by GCM staff member Amanda Bergstrum. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

Spring Is In The Air

Spring is in the air finally  despite what seems like a prolonged wet winter. Prolonged might not be the proper description because we always get some rainy weather in the spring, but this springs rain might not be as welcome because of the over the top rain season we just experienced. This week, the 2022 - 2023 rain season moved into the third wettest in eighteen years and is less then 1/2" away from the second highest rainfall accumulation in eighteen years. So again by all measures, this rain season has been one of the wettest in GBGC's history. 

The good news is the weather forecast appears to be moving towards a more spring like pattern with more sun and warmer temperatures. Additionally our Santa Anna  Hybrid Bermuda fairways are green and waking up, and all of the drainage work we accomplished over the wet winter is set to pay off as everything starts to grow. Fertilizer and topdressing sand is arriving and awaiting to be applied to the course, our mowers are sharp and tuned, and our GCM staff is ready to take off the rain gear and enjoy the fresh smell of cut grass.

A sign that spring is coming! Best Weather Picture of 2023 taken by our own Sean Geary.


Picture taken Thursday 3/30/23 AM right-hand side #5. 1/2" of rain the previous day &  evening so the water flow line in the middle of the fairway is wet,  but you can see where the rain is not awaiting percolation or evaporation,  the turf, both cool season rough and warm season fairway is ready to go. 

#9 Tee. Ready for the golf season.

#18 Green ready for the golf season as well

Above piles of sand represent 450 tons that was recently delivered to the parking lot for scheduled fairway aeration and topdressing the weeks of April 10th & 17th. This 450 tons will cover holes 5-9 & 14,17,18 and Driving Range. Other locations we are receiving sand are adjacent to the bathrooms on #12 and on the Barton road corner lot. Total amount of sand will be 1000 tons. We are slated to aerify and topdress 9 holes Monday and Tuesday the 10th and 11th of April, and 9 holes Monday and Tuesday the 17th and the 18th. We will be alternating nine holes on those days so there will always be nine holes open. More to come on this.

The forecast we have all been waiting for.

March rainfall was over twice the 18 year average which contributed to moving the 2022-2023 GBGC rain year accumulation into the third most in eighteen years and just under 1/2" of overtaking the 2010-2011 #3 spot.