COURSE CARE
What Does A 50-Percent Water Cutback Look Like? September 2, 2014 By Pat Gross

(L) Eliminating irrigation around tees and the first 150 yards of fairways has helped Pasatiempo Golf Club comply with a 50-percent water cutback while still preserving playability. (R) Putting green complexes remain the highest irrigation priority with progressively less water applied in the rough, resulting in various shades of green and brown with good playability.

Mandatory water restrictions are affecting golf courses in many parts of California, but the hardest hit area is Santa Cruz where the golf facilities in the city have been operating under a 50-percent water reduction this year. One might think that such a drastic water reduction would result in a course that looks terrible and plays even worse. Not so at Pasatiempo Golf Club where they’ve used a very targeted approach to comply with the 50-percent water reduction while keeping green complexes, tees, and fairway landing zones healthy and playable.

Earlier in the year, the management team at Pasatiempo Golf Club analyzed each hole to determine where turf needed to be preserved so the hole would remain playable. Then, 220 sprinklers were turned off in non-essential turf areas such as the practice range, turf surrounding teeing grounds, sections of the rough, and the first 150 yards or more of the fairways. The result is various shades of green and brown with very playable conditions down the middle of the course.

Pat Gross (pgross@usga.org)

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