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

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