Saturday, February 27, 2010

Our Native Grass Blend

One of the most frequently asked questions’ lately has been with the native grass hydro-seeding project. What does all this native grass stuff mean?

The goal and strategy of the club is to create world class conditions in keeping with the fine tradition of a MacKenzie course. As the price and availability of precious water resources continue to drive our operation, we are eliminating nearly 30-acres of previously irrigated turf. This will be a major change in the appearance of the golf course and many clubs especially in California will be faced with the same adversity, they must cut water and other costly maintenance practices that are required to keep a golf course wall-to-wall green. This process will take time to evolve, and many areas will look barren for the first few years. Native grasses are vastly different from the turfgrass species that we maintain on a daily basis. They take time to grow, and several years to fill in an area. The expectation for these areas cannot be set too high for the first several years, otherwise everyone will be disappointed. Every golf course is different in regards to growing conditions, soil types, seasonal changes, etc. Therefore, when someone asks what these grasses will look like, it is hard to explain.

 Our specific seed blend will react differently here than other areas of the country. We have spent a tremendous amount of time researching specific native grasses. We have selected six species that will help achieve our goal of creating native areas that will not become so thick that they cannot be played out of, will provide a wonderful habitat for wildlife, significantly reduce costly maintenance inputs including water, and help return the course to a more traditional links-style course. In speaking with our seed company, they have helped to identify one golf course that has planted a native grass blend similar to ours. The following pictures are from this course and these pictures were approximately three years following seeding of the native grass blend.

Keep in mind these grasses will not be watered during the summer months and will be thinner that what they appear in these pictures. Our intent is to be able to play from these areas and for them not to eat up lost balls.

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