Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Dog Days of Summer 2023


Here we are again, The Dog Days of Summer at Granite Bay. The "Dog Days", as the ancient Romans called this period of time, was not about the weather being unfit for a dog, but an astrological event where the Sirius "Dog Star" and associated constellation rises with the sun for 40 day's in early July through mid August. The ancients believed the extra heat experienced during this stretch was the combination  of  heat produced by The Dog Star and The Sun's close proximity. But science tells us the dog days are the result of the earths tilt in the Northern Hemisphere related to the sun, where the angle of the suns rays hit our part of the world more directly,  and for a longer period of time. 

The Dog Days and summer in general have always taken its toll on GBGC, but if one is to be fair and search ones memory of past summers here, you would have to come to the conclusion that we are better in the summer now since we converted fairways to Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda. However since our cool season rough encompasses more of the golf course then our new warm season fairways, we are still susceptible to summer heat and 2023 is no exception. 

Collar Sod Replacement

One of the areas on the course that did take a hit this summer was some of our collar sod. Whether it struggled, thinned and in some cases died from any combination of heat, bad soil, lack of moisture, too much moisture, vehicle and foot traffic, bad luck, it ended up dead. And no amount of seeding will bring it back quick enough, so we are in process of re-sodding portions of the collars.

GCM staff re-sodding walk-up collar on #3.

There are some challenges with re-sodding parts of  our collars. During 2021 construction, a tall fescue blend of sod was chosen as the collar sod to hold back the encroaching Santa Anna into the newly seeded greens which was a real issue at the time. Tall Fescue was chosen for its heat tolerance, and it is, despite our current losses,  more heat tolerant then other choices such as ryegrass. However tall fescue sod  is not commercially produced at the lower heights of cut that we maintain our collars at, so we have to install the taller sod 1/2" deep and sand topdress the difference so when we eventually mow the sod down to match our current collar's level, we dont mow the Turfgrass Crown of the individual grass plants that make up the new sod and kill them. Therefore we have to slowly  bring the height of cut down as the new sod roots into the soil  as well as continue to topdress the aforementioned 1/2" gap. This will take some time so the new sodded areas will be painted as GUR so golfers can get relief from the taller replaced collar sod.

Completed collar replacement will be marked GUR for awhile as it roots down and establishes. 

Recent Drainage Installation

Our recent fairway aeration and topdressing in late July exposed some fairway drainage work, that although we knew existed, we believed  necessary to repair sooner rather then later. Therefore shortly after aeration we installed 100' of surface drainage in #15 in one location  and almost 500' on three separate locations on #9. We still have more topdressing to do to smooth these areas out and will continue to do so until the areas blend with existing fairway turf. 

GCM staff installing surface drainage on #9 FW.

Shortly after installation. The work is serving its purpose moving water off of a low areas in the fairway. Subsequent topdressing's and sod establishment will rapidly make tis go away at this time of the year as hybrid bermuda loves the heat.

Minks Getting Established

Mink sightings on the course are becoming more and more numerous. Michele McCormick, frequents the course on closed Mondays capturing nature through her spectacular photography. On a recent Monday she got the below shot of a Mink swimming in the pond between #1 and #9. Recent sightings by GCM staff included a small family of four minks sticking their heads up through the rocks in front of #3 green as well as numerous sightings of them running along those rocks, and another chasing a goose off of #10 fairway early in the morning. They could have had something to do with our missing baby swans and perhaps are another reason why geese are not overnighting on our ponds. Additionally, and this is just an anecdotal observation on my part, but I dont notice as many ground squirrels around. As is all things related to nature, be carful what you wish for, but if the Minks establishment help keep the geese and ground squirrels in check, we might have a good thing going.

Great capture of a Mink swimming in #1 & #9 ponds.

Another great shot of a Hawk and a Lizard

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