The City of Guelph has recently increased its water restrictions to level 2-RED. In addition, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) has currently advised water users in this region to reduce consumption by 10%. Our water taking permit is
governed by the GRCA, but as members of the community of Guelph we have chosen to exceed limitations of the GRCA. As a result the Cutten Fields Drought Management Plan, developed during the drought in 2012, has been implemented. The plan allows us to reduce water consumption by prioritizing watering practices while continuing to manage the putting surfaces at a high quality.
Greens will continue to be watered as required with a larger emphasis on hand watering. Irrigation of all other playing and non playing areas will be significantly reduced to localized hot spots. Hand watering and the use of moisture meters give Course & Grounds staff the ability to only water areas that require additional water. Staff will continue to use syringing techniques on greens to cool the plant during periods of high heat throughout the afternoon as necessary. Cart restrictions will not be required at this time, but will be evaluated on an on going basis. For now, please avoiding driving carts through dry areas as reducing wear and traffic now will assist with turf recovery this fall.
Irrigation reduction plan is as follows:
Greens - No reduction (increased hand watering)
Tees - 60% reduction (increased hand watering)
Fairways - 70% reduction (localized irrigation practices)
Rough - 100% reduction (in place as of April 2016)
Accent rough - 100% reduction (in place as of April 2016)
Gardens - Alternating days
The Course & Grounds Department has been focused on reducing overall water consumption for many years. The incorporation of non-irrigated accent rough has reduced our overall water use significantly and we continue to find alternative methods to utilize water more efficiently. The golf course is very dry and looks like many of the home lawns in the city, as it should. I congratulate the membership on being so supportive in our efforts to conserve water. While not everyone can appreciate the appearance of brown dry turf it represents responsible and sustainable water management and is something the membership has initiated and should be proud of.
One of the benefits to conserving water from a playability perspective is brown & dry = firm & fast. Firm & fast conditions offer quite a contrast in color and playability from the green, thick, lush turf often experienced in spring. These type of minimal water management practices offers golfers a slightly different golf experience depending on the season and weather conditions. The brown dry look currently seen on the golf course is in tune with the sustainable management initiative encouraged by many of the leading organizations in the golf industry. The most challenging part of this philosophical change in management is educating the golf community, and altering the perception of green representing good conditioning when in fact excellent conditions can also be achieved with a multitude of colors and texture.