Barona Creek Golf Club is located in drought-prone Southern California, about 30 miles northeast of San Diego. Water quality is good at Barona Creek, but availability is a challenge. During multi-year droughts, the irrigation retention ponds sit empty due to lack of rainfall. After all the stored water is used; a limited supply of only 300,000 gallons of water per day is available for irrigation. As a result, there is often not enough water to irrigate the entire course. The major challenge faced by the maintenance staff is allocating their limited water resources in a way that keeps the golf course playable and open for business, even in dry years.
To combat chronic water shortages Barona Creek Golf Club constructed an on-site water reclamation facility, removed 12-15 acres of irrigated turf, developed a Drought-Emergency Plan, and implemented a deficit irrigation program that involves irrigating fairways to replace only 65 percent of the water lost through evapotranspiration. Course officials, with the help of the golf course architect, have implemented these additional strategies to save even more water:
- Eliminated perennial ryegrass overseeding
- Removed 2 acres of bermudagrass from an alternate fairway
- Removed 12 alternate teeing grounds
- Added waste areas
- Replaced maintained turf around teeing grounds with native plants