Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fall Update

The golf course has made it through the summer, but remains under drought restrictions.  Fall rains have been helpful, with a little over 2" since 9/1/15.  We're hoping the regular showers continue. The winter rains are badly needed to get us back on track for water storage.

The golf course did very well in the water conservation category this year, exceeding the 30% mandate.  From January through September, the golf course water consumption was down by 46% compared to 2013.  So far the course has saved 47,790,293 gallons of water in this category.

There are a few areas where irrigation was restricted that may be roped off this winter.  Many of these areas will be re-seeded and top dressed to re-establish turf, if we receive enough rain to end the restrictions.  A determination will be made in late winter.  A long-term strategy is being worked on to further reduce unnecessary irrigation acreage, to make the water savings permanent.

Finally, wildlife has been abundant this year.  Many animals are coming down to the golf course to feed, with the surrounding hills being so dry.  Raccoons have been a bit problematic, but otherwise the additional wildlife has been a welcome sight!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mid-Summer 2015

Welcome to the mid-summer edition of Ken's Golf Course Blog!

In the next couple weeks, look for a sewer construction project to take place along the Upper Practice Green, and more PG&E gas pipeline work/inspections along Junipero Serra Blvd.

We've been very busy in Golf Maintenance with everything from drought issues to Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex construction.  Below is a video and a few photos of what's been happening.

The Golden Eagles are back!


I caught a glimpse of this golden eagle enjoying his dinner near the corner of #7.....

Unfortunately Pine Bark Beetles are also back.....

We lost this Monterey Pine behind #12 green, and also one to the left of #15 fairway.  The drought has undoubtedly added stress to the trees, reducing sap flows, allowing the beetles free reign when burrowing under the bark.

Drought and Water Reductions have impacted the turf.....

When will the drought end?  The answer is completely uncertain at this point, despite forecasts of an El Nino pattern this winter.  Our concerns are if we be able to start repairs of the damaged areas before the cold of winter.  If not, turf recovery and seedling establishment will be very slow.  

Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex - Version 2.0.....

Construction is going full steam at the new complex.  We've hired two new employees, Assistant Superintendent Dan James and Greenskeeper Ignacio Gonzales.  Dan comes to Siebel most recently from Peninsula G&CC, and Ignacio from Burlingame CC.

Four new greens are being constructed, eight new bunkers, four new teeing areas, and a large split fairway, as well as a new Varsity Clubhouse and Hitting Bay building.  The entire complex is being drained and sand capped with eight inches of USGA sand.  Below are some photos of the construction and grow-in currently underway....

SVGTC fairway looking North

Early mowing on a newly seeded green

Revetted wall pot bunker

Hitting Bay Building Under Construction

Varsity Clubhouse Under Construction

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Turkey Sighting

A group of wild turkeys were spotted by members Richard Boyd and John Livingston on Sunday. This photo was shot near the 16th tee.  Although turkeys are seen in many places around the Bay Area, they are rarely seen at Stanford Golf Course.

It is always nice to see wildlife on the golf course.  Many times it is forgotten how golf courses provide the habitat and open space required for abundant wildlife!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex - Construction Update

Construction has gone very well this winter at the Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex.  The new design will incorporate exciting new features and a team clubhouse.  Here are a few photos of the new design and the bunker construction.  Completion of work is expected in early Fall.

The new design concept

                    This will be a stacked sod bunker, such as you'd find on a links course!

Bunker drainage

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How Golf Needs To Change

Two Dads with their kids playing Stanford GC this afternoon. How the game needs to adapt going forward!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Assistant Golf Superintendent

We're looking for a qualified individual for this exciting new position!

Assistant Superintendent

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

French Drains at Stanford GC

I'm often asked why we don't sod over our French drains, leaving the gravel open to the surface? And why we will actually go back in the fall and remove the turf mat that had grown over them?  

Without going into an in-depth discussion of how water moves in the soil, the answer comes from the primary type of water we're trying to capture - surface water.  

We have really gummy, slow-draining, clay soil;  especially on the upper holes.  With the open drains, we are trying to maintain the best possible path for surface water to enter the drainage system. We are trying to catch water sheeting across the sloping turf before it has a chance to soak into the clay soil below.  Most golf courses do cover the French drains, but their rate of capture is far slower than if the drains are left open. Turf grass quickly forms a mat of thatch that impedes rapid water movement into the drains. We do try to keep the open channel to less than 4” in width, because the drains do come into play. Thankfully, the Rules of Golf do allow free relief from these areas, whether open or covered by turf.  

With our heavy soil, we’re trying to do everything in our power to provide the best possible route for water to enter the drainage pipes below.  If impeded even slightly, the water would spill over the drains and slowly soak the clay soil.  Wet clay soil forms an unplayable, unmaintainable muck that is very slow to dry, especially in winter.  This year has been very bad, with over 10" of rain in just the first 15 days of December.

Turf will slowly creep over and cover the exposed gravel drains. But this method provides the best possible drainage, even if somewhat unsightly for a month or so.  

Sand topdressing is another practice that could be very beneficial.  Regular fairway topdressing has proven to be successful in the Pacific Northwest.  Unfortunately it is very expensive, a bit disruptive, and must be done regularly throughout the playing season for a number of consecutive years.