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Westbrook Village Golf Club
Course Conditions

WBVGC: Both Courses are in Great Condition - We have Updated the Summer Close Schedule for September

We are Playing the Ball Down
This humidity we have had for the past couple weeks coupled with the great job the grounds crew has brought both courses into amazing condition. A few weeks ago we removed the temporary WBVGC Local Preferred Lies Rule that was posted at both golf shops. The courses are in the best shape we have seen them for August in a very long time, please remember to play the ball down (as it lies). We will remain this way until we begin to scalp the Vistas course in late September

Summer Close Dates Update
The 2022 Summer Close Schedule has been updated and can be located in the the golf shop, locker rooms and online (home page (https://www.westbrookvillagegolf.com/filemanager/files/shares/2022/summer/2022_CourseClosed_20220826.pdf) & calendar (https://www.westbrookvillagegolf.com/calendar) ). Note: We will be closed at the Vistas both September 27th and 28th in order to assist the grounds crews in prepping for the Vistas overseed.

As a reminder, the overseed dates are as follows:
Vistas Closed (October 3 - October 21)
Lakes Closed (October 17 - November 4)
Both Courses Closed (October 17 - October 21)

The Vistas Course is scheduled to be cart paths only Oct. 22 - Nov. 4
The Lakes Course is scheduled to be cart paths only Nov. 5 - Nov. 18

Please keep in mind that all maintenance dates are subject to change based on maintenance needs.
Full Summer Close Schedule (Updated 8/26) 
This humidity is a bit different for our desert and players. However, our tropical bermudagrass loves it. Right now the grass is growing at a rate that is difficult to keep up with and roughs will remain deeper than normal until after overseed. August is always a slower month, however, we along with most other courses in the valley have started to see a drop in play numbers from past Augusts. If you can bear the sticky heat, now is the time to play, the courses are great and it is not that crowded.

Have a great weekend,

Brandon Evans II, PGA
Director of Golf

In the News - Arizona Golf, Water Usage & Restrictions

 

Water availability/sustainability in Arizona is not a new topic, but it has been a hot topic for the media the past couple of weeks. Arizona is the second fastest growing state in the country and the Greater Phoenix Area has led the country in growth the last five years. Water is essential for this growth and our demand is overtaking our current supply of water. This means this new hot topic will not be going away anytime soon.

Last week there was an unfortunate article published in the Arizona Republic placing accusations that Arizona golf courses use much more water than they are allotted. Many of the stats and usage numbers that were utilized in the article were outdated and/or incorrect. The Arizona Golf Association along with the Arizona Alliance for Golf put out a response to help fill in some of the missing pieces and correct information where needed.

Arizona Republic Article - "Arizona golf courses use more water than they're supposed to. Nothing is stopping them."
Arizona Golf Alliance for Golf - Initial Response
Arizona Golf Association & Arizona Golf Alliance for Golf - Coordinated Response
 
There is no doubt that water availability is and will continue to be an issue in Arizona. Westbrook Village Golf Club (WBVGC) understands this and has been continually modifying both of our beautiful courses and water practices we use to meet and exceed expectations for future water constraints within our industry. Just over the past seven years WBVGC has:
  • Added a new irrigation system at our Lakes Course that allows us to control each sprinkler head independently as opposed to in groups of heads.
  • Completed an extensive xeriscaping of our Lakes course by removing unnecessary turf and replacing it with natural desert terrain.
  • Continued to modify and xeriscape areas on both courses to reduce our water needs.
  • Sod needed areas with newer hybrid bermudagrasses. Some new variations require up to 40% less water than our original bermudagrass.
WBVGC is very fortunate to have our own wells and water rights. However, this does not preclude us from water regulations and doing our part to keep Arizona flourishing. We are a fortunate club that is ahead of the game regarding water preservation. Rest assured, all Arizona golf courses are working to reduce their water usage. Water is an extremely high cost for those that are not as fortunate as we are and especially for those that did not start planning sooner.

The golf industry has been a frontier in water conservation while providing needed green to the overgrowing concrete jungles around them. As with everything in life, people have a tendency to jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts or attempting to understand the how’s, why’s and what’s that go into the overall process. There is always more to it than you think.

For now we can thank mother nature for this rare humidity and rain we have had. It has sure helped the grounds crew in making our two courses look amazing in the middle of August!

Respectfully,

Brandon Evans II, PGA
Director of Golf
Westbrook Village Golf Club

DESERT GOLF: A CONSTANT BATTLE BETWEEN SUMMER BERMUDAGRASS AND WINTER RYE GRASS! WHAT WE DO IN THE SUMMER IMPACTS THE WINTER AND VICE VERSA!

DESERT GOLF: A CONSTANT BATTLE BETWEEN SUMMER BERMUDAGRASS AND WINTER RYE GRASS! WHAT WE DO IN THE SUMMER IMPACTS THE WINTER AND VICE VERSA!
By Jill Riedel, Director - Greens and Grounds & David Escobedo, Head Superintendent

Desert golf is a wonderful thing with different challenges in summer and winter.  Arizona year round golfers would love to have winter conditions all year, but alas, that is a quest very difficult to acquire, if not impossible.  Even the high-end resort courses can’t promise the same playability in both seasons. This also leads to why AZ golfers can find great rates during the summer at  ALL courses in the Valley. The high-end resort courses have a larger budget that is mainly drawn from very expensive winter golf and high dues. These larger budgets provide them the revenue to get closer to that goal than WBVGC can. That is not an excuse, it is a fact, and is the basis for our vision of our “value” bubble to get the best OUR money can buy and what we are willing to pay.
 
The link between the two seasons is greater than just the temperature. The program we follow to begin waking the dormant bermudagrass in February and strengthen it through September has a huge impact on our October overseed and the winter grass performing through our prime season (November – April). And vice versa. There is no break for the maintenance crew from doing what needs to be done year round to have the best possible outcome for year round golf for our members and their guests. We golfers focus on the lie, the roll, the color, the fun. Our grounds crew focuses on these areas as well, but have to pay special attention to what is going on underground. They focus on the health of the grass, no matter the season, and have to think six months to years down the road. 

Below is a link to a USGA article detailing how superintendents in the southwest MUST have a proactive management summer transition program to encourage the bermudagrass recovery in order to have the summer play we see today. The article addresses the following:

  • Height of cut
  • Soil moisture management
  • Chemical removal
  • Nitrogen inputs
  • The need for 100+ days for the bermudagrass growth in the absence of competition from rye grass

Three Strikes and Bermudagrass is Out (USGA Article)

EVERY member could take one look at our old common bermudagrass this summer and admit our Superintendent and Mother Nature managed this very well.  And this year we experimented with a raised cut on Vistas from 9/16” to 11/16” only because at that time we had most of the rye grass gone and Mother Nature had provided additional nutrients and health to the bermudagrass.  We don’t get this type of weather every year like we did this year and it has been quite a few since our last. We are in a very good position for the overseed program to encourage the bermudagrass back to dormancy while we lay rye grass seed for our winter season. The summer transition protocols that David followed resulted in giving us a good base for the winter transition at both courses. There is a winter transition program to follow from overseed in October to February. Then it starts all over to prepare the courses for killing the rye grass and waking up the bermudagrass.

WINTER IS A COMING!

Overseeding is a challenge to get one grass to sleep and one grass healthy and strong for winter play.  It is hoped both grasses do what they need to do at close to the same time so we don’t have large bare spots. The program David uses is based on years of USGA and other agronomist studies and research, shared success and failures with other Valley Superintendents like those at TPC, Desert Highlands and many other courses who have adopted the goal to improve the health and transition of their golf courses.  David then tweaks those practices to fit our budget and the type of grass we have.  As stated in our video on “mowing heights” we are getting the most we can get out of this old common bermudagrass. It is not possible for it to perform like the new hybrids that many courses put in during development or are converting to.

REDUCING MOWING HEIGHTS FOR PREPARATION OF DROPPING RYE GRASS SEED.

The first step in preparing for dropping rye grass seed is to begin a gradual lowering of the mowing heights on our tees, fairways, greens and roughs.  Below is the schedule that will be used this year. It will be posted on the member web page in the “Course Conditions” drop down for easy review. All dates and mowing heights are subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen issues.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!

As we roll out the program David will let you know what to expect on the golf course. Please feel welcome to ask any questions you might have about the care of our golf courses by emailing bod@wbvgc.com

Respectfully,
Jill Riedel and David Escobedo

Article and Video Discussion with the BoD on Fairway Mowing Height and Mower Calibration

On Thursday, July 27th, WBVGC Staff and the Board of Directors held a discussion/demonstration in regards to our fairway mowing height and how the height is measured/set. We recorded the discussion and you may find the video above. 

We currently mow our fairways at 9/16" and have to keep them low during the transition from winter grass to the summer bermuda grass in order to promote the bermuda grass growth. During the discussion, it was identified that members would like more grass under the ball for the ball to sit up. While fairway height can contribute to the ball sitting up on top of the grass, the density of the grass is the major contributor to a ball sitting on top of the grass. We have an older type of Bermuda grass "Common Bermuda" that is not as dense as a newer hybrid Bermuda such as "Tifway 419" or "TiffTuf". It was decided that since we are now in the humid season, for a trial comparison, we would raise the height at our Vistas course to 11/16" and keep our typical height of 9/16" at the Lakes course. We can do this as long as the test height does not compromise the health of the turf. The Board of Directors would like to hear your feedback on the increased height of the fairways at the Vistas GC, you may message the board at bod@wbvgc.com.

According to the USGA, "normal" fairway height is anywhere between 3/8 of an inch to 9/16 of an inch. There are many grass species and they all perform differently. The theory by some that “grass is grass” could not be further from the truth. The time of year is also an extreme factor into determining the height we cut our grass.

USGA - Finding the Right Fairway Height Article

A device called a Prism Grass Gauge is used by turfgrass professionals. It is also used by the USGA, PGA Tournament Officials, the Golf Course Superintendent Association, and golf course equipment manufacturers.

With the humidity much higher than it’s been in years, we are seeing an unusual amount of turf growth at both golf courses. With the exception of a few spots on some fairways the courses are very green and healthy. With that being said, we are still asked why the transition from rye grass to Bermuda grass is taking so long to complete and why the golf lie is still not what it should be. The common answer to these questions is simple, we have Common Bermuda in the fairways. Common Bermuda is one of the oldest generation of Bermuda grass there is. Many older courses that can afford/accommodate to do so, have begun moving away from Common Bermuda because of its undesirable playing surface and poor growth habit. They are renovating their fairways and adopting some of the hybrid Bermuda grasses like Tifway 419 and TifTuf. These newer strains of Bermuda grasses have a darker green color, a finer leaf, a denser canopy, and require less water to transition than Common Bermuda. In addition, the newest variety, TifTuf, has been seen to stay green and awake a month longer into the winter and come out of dormancy a month earlier in the spring. These future hybrids could reduce the need for overseeding. Golfers love the lie they get on the hybrids and these grasses transition faster than Common Bermuda and are much denser, which helps to hold the ball up off the ground.

The reason we share this information is so members are aware that Common Bermuda cannot perform like the new hybrids due to its genetics. In the meantime we will continue to work hard to optimize what we have.

Thank you for being a member of the Club and we hope you enjoyed the article and video.

TURF REMOVAL IN FULL SWING! By Jill Riedel

This is an update to an earlier email about Annual Water Resources, Annual Overseed Resources and Water Stewardship.
 
Turf removal is in full swing at both courses. 


Video Flyover of Holes 3-5

The Lakes turf removal projects have currently begun on holes # 3, 4, & 5.  On the hit parade is #14 & 15.  And completed is # 18. There are other locations under design and will be submitted for approval by the HOA Architectural Control Committee.  Luckily the Club was awarded a grant from Arizona Office of Tourism and that is giving us a huge boost on what we are able to do to reduce water usage without impacting our budget.


Lakes Holes 3 & 4


Lakes Hole 5 - Before Crushed Granite

The Vistas turf removal and rock placement projects have been completed at holes # 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, & 17.  Planting of vegetation is on hold until the appropriate planting season.  Additional locations for turf removal are under design.  Unfortunately we do not have a grant to cover the expense of turf removal projects for the Vistas.  How fast we move here is tied to the annual budget.
 
With the completed areas of turf removal at the Vistas we are averaging a savings of 100,000 gallons of water a night at that course. That number will increase as we continue to execute the turf removal plan. While the Vistas well pump was under repair we were unable to apply an adequate supply of water to all parts of the course.  Resorting to the expensive alternative of city water to fill our ponds and lakes required the Club to restrict watering to tees, fairways and greens. I hope everyone noticed how quickly the green grass turned brown. If we don’t prepare NOW for the inevitable, we will not be able to catch up when the restrictions are put into place. Some say that is years away, some say it is nearer. WBVGC Board of Directors wish NOT to play the guessing game for both the Golf Club AND the Village will suffer from that strategy.
 
The purpose of the Club’s property is GOLF. Given that, there are decisions made specific to the identified area for xeriscape and low water desert landscaping on selection, type and size of plants, shrubs, trees and rock ground cover, from the perspective of the game of golf. It is our intention to stay consistent with the look that currently exists as much as possible given the requirement to remove large amounts of turf. ALL vegetation and rock will be in compliance with the HOA ACC approved lists. One exception is the use of ¼ minus rock of which is a golf industry standard and was appropriately used when both courses were constructed. We have considered the homeowners of golf course properties as much as feasible to meet AZ Department of Water Resources (ADWR) mandated reduced turf requirements. We hope our members and the homeowners understand the changes that MUST be made in moving away from “green”. We wish we could incorporate everyone’s input on the choice of design, trees and shrubs, but alas we think you understand when we say we cannot.  This is not a backyard project.  It is the caring, feeding and watering of 180 acres.
 
We thank you in advance for your understanding as we do what we must in water usage compliance and stewardship. 

 
Respectfully,
The WBVGC Board of Directors

2022
Business Associate Members
About WBVGC

We are a membership based Arizona golf club providing an amazing experience for your golf lifestyle.

Lakes: 19260 N. Westbrook Parkway
Vistas: 18823 N. Country Club Parkway

Phone: +1 623 566 4548 - Contact Us

Upcoming Events
  • 10.03 - Vistas Closed for Overseed
  • 10.05 - MGA @ Lakes
  • 10.06 - 10/6 Chef Peter's Oktoberfest (4-8PM)
  • 10.08 - Weekend Men @ Lakes
  • 10.12 - MGA @ Lakes