Friday, July 15, 2011

Here Comes the Heat

Here comes the heat!  We’ve been engulfed in a three week drought now, and it appears as though this trend is not about to change any time soon.  Which brings me to this very important topic today, so let’s get right to it…….
Water.  Without a doubt our most precious resource in the world, as well as on our golf course.  Water is our most treasured asset, and one which we must manage carefully.  As we are now into our third week without having seen any moisture fall from the sky, it is now imperative that we manage our water supplies accordingly.
Of course, our water supply is not endless.  As I have said over the past three years, we are very fortunate here at Sawmill to have the storage capabilities that we do have; the ability to use 4 separate ponds as storage sites in addition to our main irrigation pond.  However, this does not mean we can be wasteful with our water supply, and thus we must learn to conserve.
And conservation is what we are beginning to do.
As many of you have already made note of, our main irrigation pond is beginning to drop.  We have already used up the water supply from the pond on 16, and have now started to drain the pond on 12.  Once we have drained the water from the 12th pond, I will move onto the pond on #6, followed by the pond on #8.  These ponds do contain a good amount of water stored, and should allow us to continue on with our irrigation practices for at least another 2-3 weeks.  However, if this long term forecast stays true, we may be in a tricky position. 
Hence the reason for conserving water now.
Conserving water now means, that we will begin cutting back on rough areas first.  The beauty of Kentucky Bluegrass is that it has a natural ability to go into a dormancy during drought to protect itself from harm.  Therefore it does not need as much water to survive; it simply goes dormant and will turn brown.  Of course not as aesthetically pleasing, but we must learn to deal with Mother Nature!
It also means we may cut back a bit on fairway watering.  Again, our fairways are good and lush at the moment, and have picture perfect striping, but this of course will change as we begin to back off on water.  We will always maintain turf health, we just may not be able to maintain the eye candy that they have become…..
All of these strategies are put in place assuming that we see no rainfall whatsoever over the next few weeks.  The beauty of our system is that a single thunderstorm has the ability to refill the majority of our ponds in one single fell swoop.  Of course none of us can predict this, so, we’ll assume the worst for now!
Finally today, I want to make a quick mention of two projects which will get underway next week.  The first being the filling of the right hand side bunker on #11.  Although this is not an ideal situation, and one in which we are not happy to perform, we have been put in a legal situation by the neighbours to the south of the 11th hole, in which we must make some changes to the hole to stop errant shots from leaving the golf course.  This is step one.  Step two will begin at the end of August, when we will transplant somewhere between 8 and 12 trees, around 50 feet in height, to border the property from the tee, moving west towards the large cedar shrubs already in place.  At the end of the day, our purpose in performing these changes is to attempt to have players aim further to the right, and hopefully avoid balls from leaving the property.
The second project will involve cleaning up the drainage mess that has been present on #7 fairway all year,  I will update you on this next week, when we have a better idea of what is going on there.
Of course, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at jamie.downton@sawmill-creek.com
Enjoy the sun!

Jamie

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