Sunday, January 15, 2017

How Wet Is It?

2 Canyon muddy brown from all the
run off
Wet to quite wet?  That's a really hard question to answer.  Almost equivalent to asking me what the green speed is.  If I tell you the green speed is 13', how far are you going to pull the putter back on a 20' putt on number 9 of the mountain.  It depends right?

Over a 10 day period we got 11.8" or rain.  That's the most I've ever recorded in such a span.  So is it wet out there? Absolutely.  Could it be worse?  Absolutely.  Of the few golfers we had this week, the shots I saw didn't plug in the fairways, but they didn't roll out either.  I'm sure some plugged, but that's what winter rules are for.  With the greens being sand based, they never missed a beat.  They still roll great and now accept both good and bad shots.  

We are lucky to  have a lot of surface drainage on the property so the heavy rain just runs off to drains, ponds or creeks.  We are also lucky to have aerified and cored the golf course as many times as we did which increases our infiltration rate and gets the water off of the surface.  We will 'vent' the greens this upcoming Tuesday prior to the next storm to help take as much rain as Mother Earth gives us.  If we have a dry spell following next weeks rain, we may 'vent' the greens again to allow them to dry out quicker.  Who said holes in a green are a bad thing?

So how wet is it?  I still don't know the best way to answer it.  Come on out and determine your point of relativity.   

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

57 Shades of Green

Unless you are playing at Augusta or some other ultra high end course, you are going to see multiple shades of green on a course.  In the superintendent world, we call this the Heinz 57 blend when we are referring to fairways, roughs, and tees.  As Cinnabar ages, we certainly have our version of Heinz 57.  Predominantly you'll see dark green and that is the ryegrass; the desired species here.  We also have bermudagrass, bentgrass, dallis grass, Poa annua, kikuya grass, crab grass, and goose grass.  Of all the grasses listed, we currently trying to selectively kill all of them other than ryegrass in the fairways and bentgrass in the greens.  Unfortunately I've succeeded at killing those too at times.  

Yellowing grass is kikuya grass, silver green is bentgass, dark green is rye 

Silvery green bentgrass and yellow dying Poa annua

Monday, December 12, 2016

California Water Conservation Assembly Bill 1928

Since March 2014 I have been an active participant of the Santa Clara Valley Water District's Landscape Committee.  Before my time, the idea of irrigation equipment standards was brought up, but never materialized at the time.  In early 2015, the then and current Water Conservation Manager for the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), Jerry De La Piedra, brought the idea back to the SCVWD board of directors.  It was discussed and crafted with the help of the landscape committee, authored by Assembly Member Nora Campos as assembly bill 1928 and sponsored by the SCVWD.  The bill passed the floor in late August and California Governor Jerry Brown approved and signed the bill into law on September 13, 2016.

The bill simply states that irrigation equipment must adopt performance standards and labeling requirements by January 2019.  Performance standards will be considered based on the Irrigation Associations Smart Water Application Technology Program protocol.  No new irrigation equipment for landscape irrigation shall be sold or offered for sale unless it meets the performance standards and labeling requirements.

It's a powerful bill to come from the committee when at times it feels like all we do is discuss our shared quixotic takes on water conservation.  This small committee was able to produce real change that will help guide California water conservation.

Click on the hyperlink to see the letter from the board of directors.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fall/ Winter Update

All the superintendents in the area that I know are thankful that we've now had some rain and we can begin to relax.  When I say relax, I don't mean that we start to take it easy at work, but rather we can leave most of our work problems at work because we aren't worrying about irrigation and turf stress.  The last two winters have actually been busier then ever at Cinnabar with end of the year improvement projects.

This week we wrapped up the renovation to the fairway bunkers on the left side of 9 Canyon and the right side of 9 Mountain.  We were able to remove the hump in the cinnabar tee of the 3 mountain so you can't blame your slice on that anymore.  And finally we removed the bentgrass from the approach on 4 lake.  The approach had been contaminated with bentgrass and being that bentgrass is a high thatch producer, the bentgrass acted as a sponge.  We removed the sod, added some drains and then cored the entire area twice before re-sodding with perennial ryegrass.  By next summer the hole should play much firmer.

While these projects were going on, the managers and some youthful staff members (read stronger) went to get the club Christmas tree the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  This is  my favorite time of year and cutting the tree down is something I really look forward to.  We get our tree from Patchen tree farms at the top of the summit and it was fun spending time with the other departments.  While our tree is shorter than years past, it is just as beautiful.

Going into winter we have a handful of bunkers we'd like to enhance and upgrade sections of the irrigation system.  More to come later.

...Or now.  I almost forgot that the range has grass again.  What a difference.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Olive the Barn Owl

During this past summer, Valerie Baldwin with the Silicon Valley Wildlife Center released "Olive" at Cinnabar Hills after being rescued.  She was in pretty bad shape when she got her and it didn't look like she would make it.  She was taken back to the wildlife center to find out that she had guardia.  I just received the pictures below of how she is doing now after treatment.  It's pretty incredible that she survived.