Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
I have been asked why the courses are so wet. The reason is because we are bracing both courses for the extreme heat this week. The norm for this time of year is 105 degrees. This week the forecast is for temps to reach 121 degrees. There isn’t a day in the next ten days that is forecasted to be under 110 degrees. Those are not ideal growing conditions for any kind of plant or grass known to man. Even native plants and cacti will shut down and go into a survival mode when temperatures get to that point. When the temperatures peak between 1 pm and 5 pm the extra water helps the grass survive. Without it tees, greens, and fairways will wilt and go brown. In the past we have been conservative with the watering during these conditions and have seen the courses suffer for it. We will be able to reduce the amount of water we apply when the monsoon rolls in in the next few weeks. Even though the monsoon does not always bring us rain, it always brings humidity which reduces the amount of moisture the grass loses each day. This allows us to reduce the amount of water we apply. Right now we are fighting a very dry heat.
Another question I have been asked is why we are hand watering at the RJP Lakes course when we have a new irrigation system. The answer is because we are not watering a flat surface like a football field or soccer field. The golf course has peaks, valleys, and slopes. Water will always run downhill. North facing slopes will be wetter than south facing slopes. Another factor is wind. I have come out to both courses many times in the evening to watch water that should be sprayed in a given direction go the opposite direction because of wind. The following day the area that did not get watered uniformly as the new irrigation system directed it to turns into a dry spot. Instead of turning big rotor sprinklers on it is more practical and efficient to water these areas by hand or with a portable sprinkler. When agronomist Brian Whitlark from the USGA came out to visit the RJP course a few months after the LIP was completed, he clearly stated that hand watering will still be necessary with a new irrigation system. It is also stated in his 2016 USGA report on page 3.
With that been said, I hope everyone stays cool and has a safe and happy summer.
David Escobedo GCS