Highlights From The Northern California Regional Conference
By Pat Gross, director, Southwest RegionMarch 20, 2014
Industry professionals from northern California
gathered at Diablo Country Club in Diablo, Calif. on Monday, March 17 for the
GCSANC and USGA Regional Conference. The group celebrated the centennial of
Diablo Country Club in addition to sharing practical information about golf
course maintenance. A broad range of topics were presented throughout the day
including pace of play, rules, architecture, turfgrass research and water
issues. The following are a few brief highlights from the conference.
of Play - Brian Whitlark gave an informative presentation
discussing golf course maintenance issues that affect pace of play. Key points
he stressed included:
- The 18 to 20 handicap golfer, the “bogey
golfer,” is your best customer and typically plays the most rounds of any
group. Course set-up should be done with this group in mind.
- Tee shots for the bogey golfer average
200 to 220 yards for men and 150 to 170 yards for women. Tee marker placement
based on these figures should be carefully considered with regard to hazards
and forced carries.
- Maintain good mowing frequency in the
rough and avoid excessively tall rough (greater than 2-inches) that contributes
to slow play and difficulty finding golf balls in the rough.
for water conservation – Architect Kyle Phillips shared
information about his recent renovation of Menlo Country Club. Water costs for
the club had increased 1000 percent over the past 27 years, and a key element
of the new design included features to reduce water consumption, such as:
- Elimination of a leaky pond on the
- Design and installation of a new
irrigation system with 2,600 sprinklers installed on 60 ft. spacing. The new
system provides significantly better coverage and control, producing a 10 to 20
percent water savings due to the improved efficiency.
- Hydroseeding of tees, fairways, and
rough, which allowed 30 percent less water to be used during establishment
compared to areas that were drill-seeded.
- The new design converted 37 acres of
maintained turf to naturalized rough using a blend of fine fescue varieties
that is expected to use minimal water once established.
use of water – Pat Gross concluded the program with
an overview of local and national water issues affecting drought-stricken
California. He mentioned the following six key questions that every golf
facility should be asking regarding water use:
we have a dependable source of water, both now and in the future? Could that
situation ever change?
our irrigation system capable of applying water as efficiently as possible? Are
we taking advantage of technology to improve irrigation efficiency?
we have an irrigation management plan that efficiently manages current water
is our plan for dealing with drought and mandatory water cutbacks?
our facility taking the proper steps to prevent runoff and protect water
quality in the watershed.
we effectively communicated to our golfers the importance of conserving water
and how our efforts will impact the appearance and playing quality of the golf
Source: Pat Gross (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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