Friday, June 16, 2017

Don't Be Fooled by the Green

I can't tell you how many times I've heard a caddy or golf shop person say that Northern California golf course greens break towards the ocean.  That's a good way to lose your money if you choose to believe that non-sense.  

It's also non-sense to think that despite Cinnabar being more green than last year, we are wasting water.  We are actually using less water year to date since 2010.  I grant you that we had rain this year, but that stopped in April.  So let's look at May.  The evapotranspiration rate (loss of water from soil and through plant transpiration) for May 2017 was equal to 2013 and higher than last year by more than a 1/2" and yet we saved 4.6 acre ft more than 2016.  Looking at June 2017 to date, we are trending towards a 29% savings compared to 2013 which is equal to 2016 and weather has been nearly identical.


I know the Governor has said that the drought is over, but we still live in a desert.  The investments we've made and things we've learned are now just a way of life which doesn't equate to a lesser product.   

It should be noted that this has been written on the verge of a 6 day heat wave.  I have no concerns about water usage during this time as it won't change our practices much.  My only concerns are that the pipes remain charged and there isn't a blackout.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Family Tees

If you've been out playing at Cinnabar over the last week you'll have noticed that we have some new orange and green stakes placed in the fairways.  These stakes indicate our new family teeing area.  The family tees play to yardages ranging from 1,578 to 1,960 yards per nine.  What's interesting about these new stakes from the maintenance side of things is that they can mowed or driven over and then they spring back.  



To kick off the program, we have two family golf night events.  The first being on June 20th and the second on July 18th with both events beginning at 4pm.  More details can be found here.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Restless Natives

With our first good winter in the last 4 years, the native areas are growing like gangbusters.  When the natives get out of control, it has a big impact on how quickly the game is played.  For that reason, and a few others, we are slowly making our way through the course and chopping the native areas down.  

What was once a safe haven for rodents
is now open season for the raptors.

Another reason we cut them down is for weed control.  The idea behind that is that you give the grasses the competitive advantage and choke out the weeds.  This doesn't happen overnight, but there are areas that have less weeds which have been chopped down annually.  This year is an anomaly as there are more thistle than I have ever seen before. 

Lastly, we chop them down for rodent control.  Does that one catch you by surprise?  Take a look at our worst rodent infested roughs on the course.  4/5 Mountain, 7 Mountain, 7 Canyon ( I know there are more).  All blanketed by heavy grass and weed growth.  The reason rodents do so well is because they take cover from raptors in the taller grass and weeds.  Can it still be called natural selection if we are giving the raptors an edge?

    

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017 Greens Coring

Below is a picture I’ve used in a previous post showing the top 3” of the greens soil profile on the left and 3-6” on the right.  The picture on the right is the original sand profile and the picture on the left is the same sand, but with twenty years of organic accumulation.  Results from a physical soil analysis that we do annually indicate that water infiltrates through the profile on the right over 36” per hour.  The results for the sample on the left is less than 6” per hour.  A very dramatic difference and the major reason why we core and topdress the greens.   


So that’s what the lab says.  Here is a picture that may help you further understand why we core the greens. 



That's two minutes of water and in case your wondering, that's not good.  We will core the greens the week of the 27th using 3/8" tines.  We are going smaller and tighter to aide recovery time.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Best Laid Plans

The title of this post is how I know the saying, but the line actually goes, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley" as Robert Burns wrote in 1785.  In English that is interpreted as "The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often askew".  The story goes that Robert Burns destroyed a mouse nest while plowing the fields and was moved to pen the poem "Tae a Moose, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough" or "To a Mouse" in English.  

Either way, we had good intentions as we started the drain work on 7 mountain fairway, but it turned it out that it wouldn't be our day.  Despite having dry weather for almost two weeks, the subsoil was too wet to trench the drain line as the trencher kept sliding down the hill.  I decided to pull the plug until drier days, but that looks to be some time from now with rain in the forecast all next week.  Looking into the bottom of the drain that we were able to accomplish, water is seeping in and doing exactly what we want it to do.  We just need to do another 700 ft.