Friday, January 19, 2024

#5 Drainage Work

The El Nino weather pattern situated out in the pacific has not brought the kind of rain amounts these patterns historically can bring, but it has brought enough rain days and associated cloud cover to keep the course wet since the holidays. So much so that the front left-hand portion of the #5 fairway is so wet that we need to address the situation with surface drainage. And we are in the process of doing so this week. 

It is always better to do this kind of work when it is dry but this section of fairway has gotten so bad we  couldn't ignore it and wait for the weather to change. We started installing over 500' of drainage on Tuesday 1/16/24 the day after the MLK Holiday when we were closed. Wednesday 1/17/24 through Friday 1/19/24 we have the tee markers moved forward the the right hand side of the fairway near the fairway bunker about 160 yards out. Tee markers will be returned to their normal position's on Friday afternoon 1/19/24. The area will continue to be ground under repair as it recovers from the process and the new drainage starts to dry the area out. 

Above is a page from our Master Improvement plan depicting the drainage work currently under way on #5

Here is the beginnings of this work showing sod removed in the drainage pattern, plywood down and  in process trenching of the drain lines. Following steps are to remove the excavated soil, bed the bottom of the trenches with gravel, install 4" perforated drain pipe, fill the drainage ditches with  gravel then replace the sod and topdress with sand.

The drainage explained above will be tied into our sub-surface drainage system which can be identified throughout the course drainage inlets (DI's) depicted above. The subsurface drainage system can then discharge the collected water into this case our irrigation pond. 

Here we are on Thursday afternoon replacing the sod onto the completed drainage pattern.

Fairway Color

We switched our fairway turf from a jumbled mix of cool season turf varieties to a single variety of warm season Santa Anna  hybrid bermuda in 2021 as most everyone who reads these course updates knows. The conversion was made for summer conditions knowing full well the downsides of hybrid bermuda being it goes dormant in the winter. And when hybrid bermuda goes dormant, it stops growing and typically turns brown. We cannot do anything to make the turf grow in the winter, but have been successful in keeping some color to it this year so far. 

This picture of #9 was taken last week on Thursday 1/11/24. Fairway color is pretty good due to our ability to treat the fairways with pigment and iron every other week starting in October. Last year we were unable to keep up that treatment frequency because we measured  over 23" of rain in November - January, and the same time period so far this year we have measured only 5.0"

Here we are applying the pigment / iron mix to the fairways. Turfgrass pigment is different then paint as it works well on plants that still have some chlorophyll, or green color within the tissue. Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda is known for holding onto its color longer into the season and coming out of dormancy sooner they other varieties of hybrid bermuda. This is why I believe the pigment works especially well on the Santa Anna.  

Winter of 2023 vs. Winter of 2024 

In the 50 day period of December 2022 and January 19 2023 we measured 21" of rain transpiring over 27 days (55%). Comparing the same time period this season, we have measured 4.54" happening over 20 days (41%). All of the rain this year has been little 1/10" or maximum 1/4" events with allot of cloudy dreary days between them which makes the golf course just as wet as the large rain events we experienced last season. 

As golfers, I'm certain you follow the weather as closely as we do and know that our current wet conditions are not going to dry out anytime soon. 2.5" forecasted Friday night through Monday.

As wet conditions make for challenging golf, they also make it very challenging to maintain the golf course. I mentioned above the hybrid bermuda fairways are not actively growing, but they still need to get cleaned up from divot and goose remnants, leaves etc., and when it is wet as the course is now we cannot get blowers, sweepers or larger mowers out there. Above depicts us mowing fairways with a smaller, lighter triplex mower to get them cleaned up.


The  2023 Drainage Work that we completed last year has worked well this year but more work needs to be done as evidenced by what we are doing this week on #5 and the current wet conditions that still persist in rainy weather. On a year around golf course in a true transition zone like Granite Bay it is challenging to be good every season of the year, but we'll keep on making the improvements to help us get closer to that goal.

The Best Is Yet To Come ! Thank you for your Support