Turf Conversion Projects Are A Popular Topic In California

By Pat Gross, director, Southwest Region
July 9, 2014

 (L) At The Valley Club of Montecito, converting fairways from perennial ryegrass to Santa Ana hybrid bermudagrass has resulted in better summer playing quality and a 30 percent reduction in overall water use. (R) Black Gold Golf Club continues efforts to convert to kikuyugrass by seeding and applying mulch as part of their efforts to have firmer, drier fairways while reducing overall water use.

Once considered too disruptive and costly, turf conversion projects are now being discussed at courses in response to water restrictions and rising water prices in many parts of California. A recent visit to The Valley Club of Montecito near Santa Barbara provides a good case study highlighting the significant amount of water that can be saved by replacing perennial ryegrass fairways with Santa Ana hybrid bermudagrass. The project at The Valley Club was completed in two phases during the summers of 2012 and 2013. Each year nine holes were closed from Memorial Day (late May) to Independence Day (July 4) for turf removal, renovation and sodding. The original goal of the project was to improve summer playability and reduce costs for disease and weed control.  As drought conditions worsened in 2013 and 2014, the reduced water use of the hybrid bermudagrass proved to be an even greater benefit, resulting in a 30 percent overall reduction in water use in 2013.

Black Gold Golf Club in Yorba Linda is another example of a golf course originally planted with perennial ryegrass that has improved summer playability and reduced water use by planting a warm-season grass, in this case, kikuyugrass. The kikuyugrass establishment program was initiated five and a half years ago using a combination of seeding, sodding and spreading kikuyugrass sprigs without shutting down the golf course. Nearly all fairways are now at 90 percent kikuyugrass coverage. This has resulted in drier, firmer playing conditions and a significant reduction in overall water use.

Pat Gross (pgross@usga.org)

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff  

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image