The Pellucid Perspective - June 2015 - (Page 6)

Golf course manaGement California course owners adapt to new water cutbacks Some courses garner substantial rebates for major turf reduction projects By Jim Dunlap 6 The Pellucid PersPecTive photo courtesy of jc resorts t he majority of California's golf course owners viewed Gov- affairs for the Southern California Golf Association and a key ernor Jerry Brown's April 1 announcement of a mandatory point person in forging a cooperative relationship between the 25 percent cut in water use, beginning June 1, with a mix- state's golf course owners and the politicians, water boards and ture of concern for their course's conditioning and relief that the regulatory agencies who control water allocation. Kessler points cutback wasn't higher. Some Southern California owners, howev- out that the cutback to a cap of $25,000 was part of the MWD's er, who were both paying attention and sufficiently well heeled to plan all along. With no end in sight to the state's drought condireact quickly to an opportunity, were congratulating themselves tions and water shortages, MWD offered the large turf rebates for taking advantage of a limited time offer of substantial turf re- first, knowing that generous offers to large users, including golf duction rebates from the huge Metropolitan Water District and courses, would be the best way to jump start the removal of large other water providers. amounts of turf in the state. As Kessler notes, the golf industry, Carmel Mountain Ranch Golf Club in the Rancho Bernardo with its access to architects, irrigation consultants and construcsuburb of San Diego is a prime example of fast twitch response tion firms, was uniquely positioned to take on substantial turf and long range planning. When the Metropolitan Water Dis- reduction projects quickly. Significant reductions in irrigated turf trict (MWD) notified its more than 19 million customers last like the Carmel Mountain Ranch project have taken place at a year that lucrative rebates were available for users who removed number of courses in Southern California, including a separately large amounts of thirsty turf, the Hwang family who owns the 18-hole public course applied carmel mountain ranch country club in rancho Bernardo, calif., for and were granted a rebate of what eventurecently undertook a major turf reduction program by replacing ally amounted to over $4 million. To earn that grass with decomposed granite, native drought-resistant plants rebate, the course took out a little over 50 acres and redwood shavings known as "gorilla hair." of turf, replacing it with drought-resistant native plantings, large helpings of decomposed granite and redwood shavings known as "gorilla hair." The projected annual water savings is 40 million gallons of the potable water the course consumes, equivalent to the usage of 400 households. Equally important to the Hwang family and course operator JC Golf, that's roughly $500,000 that will go into the course budget instead of the local water provider's bank account. Lest anyone think that the Hwangs padded their own bank accounts at the MWD's expense, the turf removal and subsequent replanting costs came to approximately $4.4 million, plus the course was closed funded rebate program in the Coachella Water District which for around two and a half months during the construction. The includes the Palm Springs area, where 18 courses are currently construction work was done by Landscapes Unlimited to a de- participating in a more modest rebate program which also insign by San Diego-based golf architect Dave Fleming, and there cludes a cap, with the largest to date being $105,000. were some continuing maintenance costs to grow-in native plants While there is no denying that those courses whose rebate and care for the new "desert waste" areas. All that work had to be applications were approved within the deadline will mean large done and signed off on by the MWD before the rebate checks amounts of water saved for other uses, the rebates for golf courswent out. es and clubs have not been universally applauded. A number of All good things must end, however, or at least pause to take a high profile turf reductions, such as those at North Ranch CC breath. The MWD recently announced that going forward, there in Thousand Oaks, Oakmont CC in Glendale, El Niguel CC in will be a cap of $25,000 in most cases on applications for the turf Orange County, Wilshire CC in downtown Los Angeles and reduction rebates. Craig Kessler is the director of government Rancho Santa Fe CC in the San Diego area, have in several cases June 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - June 2015

PGA Tour/EZLinks-backed site challenges GolfNow
Municipal golf property tax exemption affirmed by Ohio Supreme Court
California course owners adapt to new water cutbacks
Reinventing vs. Reinvesting
Golf participation in 2020: Two “educated guesses,” you pick
What’s right with golf?
May golf weather impact: Starting the full season in “neutral”
Dallas: Room for improvement in Big D P&L
NGCOA facing a critical leadership decision

The Pellucid Perspective - June 2015