Thursday, April 4, 2024

2024 Spring Fairway Grooming

A best management practice that has been mentioned before in these course updates is raising the height of cut on our fairways prior to winter. If we neglected to do this prior to the warm season Santa Anna going dormant, we would run the risk of  excessive thinning of the fairways from winter golf traffic. Now that spring has arrived and we feel the weather has changed enough, it is time to lower this height of cut and groom out the hybrid bermuda's stems and seed head in the process. We got started on this process this week and should have a first pass completed by next. 

Here we are using a small greens groomer brush against the grain of the Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda standing it up along with its seed stems. 

Above represents a mowed surface on the left next to an un-mowed and brushed up surface on the right. The mowed surface was what we call "back track mowed" which involves mowing in one direction normally against the grain, then turning around and mowing the same strip in the opposite direction. 

Here we are "back track mowing". The process of brushing and back track mowing does take some time to get all 30 acres of fairways done and like most cultural practices need to be done when it is dry and the weather so far this spring has been hit and miss. Additionally this process needs to be done when the Hybrid Bermuda is woke up and growing and it is in the process of doing just that.

Unfortunately we were stalled end of this week with the fairway grooming process, next week looks promising. 

Additional Weekly Progress 

Along with getting started on the above mentioned fairway grooming, we completed core aeration of the back 9 rough as well as core aeration of our collars. Next week we plan on a full course fertility application as well as finishing the first pass of our fairway grooming process. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

2024 Spring Rough Aeration

We started our core aeration of the primary rough this week according to plan.  Planning, in the context of  spring core aeration of the rough is somewhat abstract for us in Granite Bay as the process is entirely weather dependent. And in a part of the world that averages 24" of winter rain, it is challenging to plan these events with any type of precision as this process leads to a big muddy mess if done when wet. Been there, done that, on this very property!

Additionally getting everything aerified  early in the spring is a must as fertility and weed control strategies are best conducted post aeration and have a time sensitivity of their own. It's easy to see how core aeration of the rough gets skipped frequently given these weather challenges in the spring. However in our case with our native soils, the lack of timely aeration can lead to marginal summer conditions and more necessary fall recovery then we want. Therefore we identified spring core aeration of our primary rough a best management practice, and are in the process of doing it right now.

Step #1 Flagging.
There are a lot of sprinkler heads, valve boxes and yardage markers on the course that we dont want the aerator's to come in contact with. Pink is our new color in honor of  our beloved Head Golf Professionals occasional apparel choices. Kidding aside, this florescent  pink is very visible.

Step #2 Aerate.  
Enrique ripping away with the Toro 1298 Procore. 

Here is the smaller aerator, a Toro 648 working around the greens. Our strategy this week was to aerate the green surrounds utilizing both the large and small aerators on Monday 3/18/24 while the club was closed as it is harder to work on the green surrounds when we have Members playing. We were able to complete greens surrounds on the F9 on Monday, then continued aerating primary rough a few holes at a time starting on Tuesday where we completed #1, #2 & half of #4. Wednesday we completed the remaining half of #4, #5 & #8. Thursday we completed #9, #6, #7, #10. Friday we plan to complete #11 & #12.

Above depicts a freshly aerated rough surface. We have had almost perfect weather prior to starting the process. End of the last rainy period was 15 days prior with a nighttime 0.12" event in between on 3/12/24. Ground is moist but not wet and perfect for extracting a core. After we extract the cores we allow them to dry a bit in the sun which is extremely beneficial to the clean-up process. 

Step #3 Cleanup. 
The cleanup portion of the job is the most time consuming and weather dependent as this process is hard to do right unless we have sunny weather. Around the greens, much of the cleanup is by hand with back pack blowers moving  cores into piles then picking them up with shovels and tossing them into utility vehicles. 

Cleanup of the primary rough around the fairways can be more mechanized. Above depicts a scarifying mower chopping the semi-dried cores up to facilitate sweeping and blowing.

A close-up of the scarifying reels.

Next in the clean-up process is sweeping up the scarified aeration core debris. These sweepers pick up the vast majority of the cores and debris. 

We couldn't do this process without the support and understanding of the Membership. Allot of the work is done in the dark and before Members start playing,  but golf does begin on  freshly aerated rough with cores laying on the surface before we have processed and cleaned the area. Additionally keeping golf carts from driving on the holes we are working is crucial, as it  keeps the cores from being smashed into the turf which is then difficult to mechanically remove and we have to do it manually. 

Above is a good representation of the finished product. Pretty clean, for the most part and in a much healthier position going into the heat of the summer.  

The weather forecast does not bode well for completing this process next week unfortunately. As I've already indicated, this job does not work when it is wet. More to come as to when we will finish the B9. 

Thanks for Your Support!

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Tahoma Hybrid Bermuda #10

GBGC GCM has had a very active and productive few weeks despite the ongoing dreary and wet winter weather of February and so far, March. February started off with a Tree Toppling storm that to date knocked down or created dangerous situations requiring removal of now over 30 trees. I originally estimated it would take us two weeks to cleanup and process the mess. I was a bit off as we still have clean-up to do five weeks later. 

Additionally we repaired the #2 Fairway Exit, and this Monday 3/4/24, we did a new putting surface aeration process called DryJect which was a little sandier than I anticipated, but I'm hoping will be a good process for these greens moving forward. 

And as planned, following the DryJecting on Monday, we stripped out the bad sod under the #10 fairway tree and replaced it with Tahoma 31 Hybrid Bermuda. Tahoma 31 is a variety of hybrid bermuda that claims to be more shade tolerant then other hybrid bermuda varieties and is the same variety we installed on #2. Both sodded areas appear different because the Tahoma 31 on #2 was overseeded, and the Tahoma 31 on #10 was not for reasons explained below.

Here is the turf area under the signature Oak Tree in the middle of #10. The sprigging of the Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda in 2021 never really took and the area has been one of the worst areas on the course even before we attempted to convert it to Santa Anna. Issues are shade and the common issue that impedes turfgrass quality on the course, our native soil.

In December we had our arborist's strategically work on this signature tree to mitigate shade issues

And now a few months later we start the process of replacing the turf.

Step #1 sod cut the bad sod.

Step #2. Remove the distressed sod and a couple inches of the native soil.

Step #3. Replace the 2" of removed soil with washed tee sand.

Step #4. Lightly rototill the new sand into underlying native soil to help with soil layering and water percolation. 

Step #5. Grade.

Finished grade awaiting sod. 

Step #6. Install sod.

As mentioned above we resodded with a Hybrid Bermuda variety,  Tahoma 31. Again Tahoma 31 is known for its shade tolerance. It should blend very well with our Santa Anna. so much so that you will likely not be able to tell the difference. Time will tell on it's shade tolerance in this important area as its success can prove to be a model of other fairway peripheral areas adjacent to trees. I am cautiously optimistic because of the variety's claims, and because of the shade mitigation of the tree pruning and most importantly the soil modification that will provide a much better growing opportunity.

Here is the finished product. Notice the shade pattern from the dormant tree branches. Almost exactly the area that was re-sodded.

The sod installed on #2 earlier in the month is Tahoma 31 as well but it was overseeded. The reason we chose overseeded was it was 4 weeks earlier and the Tahoma at the sod farm hadn't started waking up yet and the shade in this area on #2 is denser because of the amount and type of trees. We will transition the ryegrass out of this Tahoma 31 stand in the early summer. 

Rough Core Aeration

Next up for us is core aeration of the rough. This work is weather related and this essential task for the health of our rough in the summer cannot be done when it is wet. We have a good number of Mondays open through mid-April so hopefully the weather will cooperate and there won't be much of a disruption to the Membership. More on the process as we get started but basically, we aerify, allow the cores to dry and sweep them up. Holes we will be working on during golf play will be closed to cart traffic but won't be numerous if weather is dry and we are able to make good progress on Mondays.

Thank You for Your Support!

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Dry Ject Aeration of the Greens

This past Monday 3/4/24 we had a contractor perform a practice on our greens called DryJect. The process basically uses high water pressure to draw sand deeply into the core of the green. DryJecting has the ability to get sand deeper into the green profile then even our  Vertidrain Deep Tine Aerator which we use on a regular basis during the growing season. 

The DryJecting process went well, but the appearance of the surface  afterwards resembles more of traditional sandy aeration and will take a few days to get the surfaces back to where they were prior to the process. Below are pictures of the operation.

We started at 5:30 AM with the process. The above DryJect machine represents a block of two units. The large green boxes on the top of the machines are the hoppers in which we have to manually keep filling with sand.

Above represents a single machine. The contractor used both a double unit and the single unit. Both machines were serviced by a team from the GBGC GCM staff. Teams consisted of 2 vehicles per team positioning near the green with a bed full of sand and alternately returning back to the maintenance yard to be loaded with more.  Teams also included  4 to 5 GCM employees each team to load DryJect hoppers with sand from buckets as they traveled across the green.

Good representation of the amount of water needed to drive the sand into the greens. Its a worthwhile process but it does keep the surface wet, especially during the cloudy day we had which subsequently limits our effectiveness in brushing in the sand

Here we are filling the DryJect hopper with dry sand. This activity was pretty constant and the machine(s) never stopped.

Later in the day we still attempted to brush the sand into the surfaces and were just marginally successful as they were still wet from the mornings operation

This represents the surface mid-morning the next day on Tuesday 3/5/24 after we have rolled and brushed and blown the surfaces now that they had dried down some. Greens were rolling  10' after we checked them and balls were not deflecting over small aeration holes. These holes will recover rapidly after some fertility and continued rolling, blowing & brushing throughout the week.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Additional Work on #2

Earlier this month we detailed a course improvement in the GBGC Course Update intitled #2 Fairway Exit. In this update we promised more information to come on a golf active native area across the cart path on the right-hand side of #2 about 140 yards out. This past Monday 2/26/24 we were able to complete another phase of this project and below are some pictures of this work to date. 

Above is a good picture of the area we are talking about to the right of the cart path on #2. There has always been allot of golf activity in the area if you drift right and skip through the walnut shells.

Our main motivation to repair the area was the need for a better point of connection for the drainage system coming off of the #2 fairway as well as the drive off area we recently added a substantial amount of drainage under a sand cap. Above depicts this new point of connection.

We decided to expand the main 15" N-12 drainage line 80' allowing us grade and clean the area facilitating moving the hazard line back 20 to 30 feet towards the tree line. 

Plans are never quite as easy as you draw them up. We ran into an old willow stump that we had to dig out and bury. Above is Enrique doing just that. 

Above shows the 80' expansion of the 15" N-12 drainpipe before it is buried.

The above pictures depict the area after initial grading. We still have some irrigation work to do and as soon as weather permits, we will seed the area with tall fescue. We plan to maintain the area at rough height so it will be much easier to find your ball. The area is still penal as you have to navigate mature Oak Trees to get to the green, but you should expect a better lie to punch out of or for the risk takers amongst us, navigate the trees.

Coming Up This Spring

DryJecting Putting Surfaces

DryJect Aeration is a noninvasive, small-hole, deep tine aeration process that uses water to inject sand deep into a putting surface. This process will be very beneficial for our greens as it will drive sand deeply through grow-in layer of sand into original sand facilitating deeper root growth. We are having this process done Monday 3/6/24. I'll post a GBGC Course Update later next week showing the process.

Core Aeration of Rough

As soon as it is dry enough, we plan to start the core aeration of our rough. We plan to core aerate then remove the cores on a couple to three holes at a time weather permitting. Holes that we will be working on will be closed to cart traffic while we are working on them. If we are fortunate, we will complete the entire process by the end of March but we will need dry weather to do so. More to come on this as well.

Thank You for Your Support 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Wet February

 The Water Year in California is a "12 month period that extends from October 1st to September 30th." "The water year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends." "The current water year is 2024." "In the current water year, the greater Sacramento region has received:

76% of Average Rainfall

41% of the Average Snowfall

0.5% F  Warmer, Daily on Average

Weather data collected here at GBGC tells a slightly different story particularly for the month of February 2024. Through Tuesday 2/20/2024 we have measured a total 5.72" for the month which will make February 2024's accumulation the 4th highest in 19 years of data collection from the GBGC weather station. More importantly then the rain accumulation amounts were the number of rain days and cloudy days in between. We have measured rain on 13 days in the first 20 days of February and 17 days of the 31 in January. So 30 of the last 51 days of 2024 we have measured rain and there have have been very few sunny days in between.

Our record of 19 years of rainfall accumulation measured by the GBGC weather station. 2024 accumulation through 20 days of February ranks 4th in 19 years.

2024's daily records confirm 30 days of rain measured in the years first 51 days.

So our total YTD water year accumulation is less then the historic average of 24",  but the last 50 days have been wet and cloudy and have created wetter then desirable playing conditions. It has always taken 5 consecutive days of clear weather for the golf course to dry out enough after rain events to allow carts onto the golf course, a big satisfaction matrix for course dryness. Unfortunately,  we have  not had those blocks of clear, sunny and hopefully windy days to dry the golf course out yet in 2024. Hopefully the remainder of this week will start that drying trend, however it is still February.

Mid morning on Wednesday 2/21/24 following a 6 out of 7 day stretch where rainfall was measured. Hoping the sun will persist and dry the golf course out.

We will continue to install surface drainage and sand topdress in season which will help when we experience these wet sort of winters. Additionally repairs to specific bad areas such as #2 fairway exit that we recently completed will continue and will help as well. The flipside to the rain the entire State has been receiving in January & February and golf course conditions is  the refreshing of reservoirs and snow crucial for the big picture, irrigation in the summer. Not nearly the abundant water year of 2023, but the last two months are helping to catch-up from a slow start to the water year of 2024. CA current water storage and snow accumulation data below.

Folsom Reservoir from which GBGC's irrigation water originates is in decent shape thanks mostly to record rainfall in water year 2023, but recent storms have contributed to recent gains.

The best water storage for CA has always been in the mountains in the form of snow. 2024 was slow to start with snow but experiencing a little better finish.

Like Folsom, many of our big reservoirs throughout the State are still in decent shape from the  record rain and snowfall  from water year 2023. It will be interesting to see if Shasta & Oroville will fill once the snow starts melting as well as of course, Folsom.


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

February Storm

 As many of us are aware, a Powerful Winter Storm hit California Sunday 2/4/24 causing a substantial amount of damage state wide. Very strong winds caused the downing of trees again here at the course for the second year in a row. We lost 30 trees between mid December & mid January 2022-2023. 

We lost another 20+ trees this time where we  measured 50-60 MPH gusts.  Most of the downed trees were out of play in native areas or walnut shell areas. The only structural damage we experienced was a tree that went over onto the short netting on the left-hand side of the driving range. Wet conditions dident help as we have measured over 3" of rain in the 3 days since 2/1/24. It took us over 4 weeks last year to process and clean up after 30 trees, it will take us at least a couple of weeks to clean up these 20+. Some pictures below.

#18 left-hand side cart path

Further down on #18, closer to green, left-hand side of cart path.

Another on the left-hand side of #18. This one across the left hand driving range net.

Two pretty good sized live oaks in the native area between #11 tee & #12 fairway

This is at the #15 side of the bridge below the tee. Half of it came down last year.

Left - hand side of #16 near the cart path below the green.

#6 tee across the cobble stone wall 

Above is a good representation of the 20+ total that are down. We spent all day yesterday, Monday 2/5/24 doing basic cleanup and clearing cart paths so we all can get around the course on Tuesday. Again, I estimate it will take us a couple of weeks to clean all of this up along with routine maintenance. 

Thanks for your Support!