Winter doesn't officially begin until December 21 but with recent cold temps and significant rains over the last 6 weeks, things seem to be early this season. Since the beginning of October we received 6.7 inches of rain, the course has greened up nicely and playing conditions have evolved from firm and fast to soft and lush. The Turf Department hopes you enjoy and embrace the natural evolution of the golf course throughout the seasons. The course is playing quite different than is has for the last six months or so. Greens and fairways are more receptive, roughs and natural grass areas longer and more penal. This to me, is one of the many great things about the game we love. The field of play is different each day and its up to the player to adjust his or her game. Good stuff for sure. Please have a look below at some of the things we've been working on.
Each off season we focus some time toward rebuilding areas of the bunkers that have changed since the renovation. The golf course changes every day and this is especially true with bunkers as sand is displaced with each shot hit and every time we enter and exit. Sand washes out during storms, bunkers are contaminated with soil and grasses grow into the bunker. We picked the first bunker off the to-do list last week at 5 green.
The rake in the above picture provides good perspective on green to bunker transition. The below picture shows well our process and its pretty simple. Dig down through the built up bunker sand along the edge of the bunker and find the native soil. Remove the sod. Excavate sand along the edge of the bunker and into the green / collar. Replace the sod. The guys have gotten pretty good at this over the last few years and this one turned out great.
Finished product above with grades restored makes for an easy entry / exit to the bunker. We hope this will be true for golfers and golf balls alike.
Natural Grass Areas
We've begun work on transitioning more areas of maintained turf to natural grasses per our grassing plan by Architect Jim Urbina. In years past we've used a Fine Fescue blend in many of these areas with some success and failure. This season we've gone to a blend of true California Native grasses that we think will work better in our soils while providing what we are looking both aesthetically and play-ability wise. These areas will go without water and mowing in summer and we hope to only to mow them a few times each spring.
The process here begins by treating grassy and broad-leaf weeds with selective herbicides. Once these products take effect, the areas are mowed short and cleaned up with the goal of exposing the soil. The final step is the application of seed and hydro-mulch. The grasses can then naturally grow-in over winter as we get rain. Please remember to keep carts out of these areas at all times.
Golf Shop Project
Work around the golf shop has kept us on our toes to say the least. In the above picture, just between the excavator and the Ladies locker room was the irrigation mainline and communication wire that serviced the pool and front of the club. These utilities were removed in time for crews to continue grading and we intend re-locate as soon as rough grades are complete. Managing traffic around the temp facilities during wet conditions has been a challenge requiring extra attention with wood chip pathways, ropes, stakes and directional markings and such. All things considered it's been a smooth start to construction.
The temporary 1st tee was graded and sodded a few weeks ago and is taking shape. If you look at the tee and think "It doesn't look flat" that's because it's not. None of our tees are flat, they are all graded at 2 to 3% in one direction or another for surface drainage. The goal on this tee was to level off a small area that can function as a tee but also blend into the surrounding contour. The guys did a good job here and we hope to open the tee some time in the next few weeks.
We've had lots going on this fall, all while continuing to prep the course for daily play and keep up with detail and clean up. A big thanks to the Team In the Turf Department for their work this fall.
We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Come on out and and enjoy the club during the Holiday season. Its such a special place that really comes alive this time of year! Thanks and we'll see you on the course.