August around the grounds.......In photos
I just wanted to address the complaints over the last few weeks about carts being restricted to "cart path only" during the monsoon season here in the high desert.
We have recorded nearly 8 " of rain this month after a long drought and so on some of those days we have had to restrict carts to cart paths to avoid saturated turf being damaged. Sometimes we are able to "modify" our cart restriction to the holes that are located in the natural wash area that tend to remain saturated for days after a heavy rain event (e.g., holes 7,10,18). We understand the consternation of the golfer about this restriction, and we understand the condition of our 25+ year cart paths help in that grief, but the long term health of the turf is most important in the end.
Here at PDS our mix of sand and heavy clay soils are more acceptable to heavy rain early in the monsoon period but tend to become over saturated and stay that way as the season progresses, due to poor drainage, amount and frequency of the rain event. With that being said, a small rain event in mid to late July can still lead to cart path restriction depending on where we are at in turf saturation.
Complaints directed about cart restrictions to clubhouse staff, pro shop and GMS crew members will not change the facts of the situation or generally change the outcome. We try and let Brian(and/or clubhouse) know whats going on with the course on a daily basis during events and weigh their input accordingly. If you do have something to say, or a complaint, we are available and always happy to explain our reasoning behind our actions.
We found two great articles from the USGA that explains a bit more about these issues :
• Following heavy rain or during prolonged periods of wet weather when soils are saturated, soft and most prone to compaction.
• During extreme heat or drought stress when turf is easily damaged by traffic.
• Whenever frost is present because ice crystals, under the pressure of traffic, can puncture live plant tissue that will result in, at the very least, temporary discoloration of leaves or, at worst, plant death.
• Fungal disease pressure is high because some diseases can be spread quickly across the golf course through tire traffic.
• Any other time when turf is under extreme stress or in the process of recovery, whether it is from environmental pressure, mechanical injury or pest damage.
Golf carts play an important role at many golf facilities. They provide a revenue source and increase accessibility, allowing golfers who might not otherwise be able to walk the course to enjoy playing. These benefits are not without their costs, however. Golf carts can have very negative impacts on turf health and playing conditions, especially in areas where traffic is concentrated. Keeping these five things in mind will help ensure that you don’t put the cart before the course during your next round.
1. The impact of cart traffic varies.
Many factors influence how cart traffic affects a golf course. Certain grasses are more vulnerable to traffic injury and may require special cart policies. Areas with heavy soils and poor drainage face a greater risk of compaction and other traffic issues. Even the time of year plays a role. When grasses are growing slowly, they are more vulnerable to the cumulative effects of cart traffic. For all these reasons, cart policies vary from course to course, hole to hole and even day to day.
2. Wet conditions and cart traffic do not mix.
Carts can slide, skid and sink when turf is wet, causing immediate and lasting damage. Wet soils are also more vulnerable to compaction, which can have negative long-term effects on playing conditions, even if those impacts are not immediately visible. Avoiding wet areas and respecting cart path restrictions is an important part of being a responsible cart driver.
3. Cart traffic during hot, dry weather can also cause problems.
It’s easy to understand that driving a cart through a soaking wet area is likely to cause problems, but many golfers are not aware that driving over dry or heat-stressed turf can also cause issues. During hot and dry weather, cart traffic increases stress on the grass and can leave behind damaged turf and straw-colored tire marks that may take weeks to heal.
Look Familiar?!?!?! We have had many areas like this during the drought. Cart traffic during hot and dry weather can also cause turf damage. The tire marks that appear on dry or heat-stressed turf can take weeks to heal.
4. Sometimes it’s better to take the road less traveled.
A single golf cart driving down a fairway has little to no effect on turf health or playing conditions. It is the cumulative effect of many carts that eventually takes a toll on the grass. This is why cart damage is most obvious in areas where traffic is concentrated, like the ends of cart paths. Doing your best to steer clear of high-traffic areas can greatly reduce the impact of your cart.
5. Less cart traffic means better playing conditions.
Walking or sharing a cart goes a long way toward reducing cart traffic and improving turf health. This helps courses conserve resources and provide better playing conditions for everyone.
Golf facilities use ropes, stakes, signs and many other traffic control measures to minimize the negative impacts of cart use; but ultimately, they depend on golfers to be mindful of where and how they drive. Respecting course rules, being understanding of cart restrictions and doing our best to reduce cart traffic can have a very positive impact on the courses we play. Visit the Course Care section of USGA.org to learn more.
As our drought conditions continue here in Arizona, (Experts are saying that the time period from April 2020 to March of 2021 was the driest in the last 126 years in AZ), our cool season turf is definitely starting to show the pain of extended high temperatures, heavy cart traffic and the general lack of full hydration. Currently we are at 1.15" of rain for the year, with the last measurable amount coming in March and that was a measly .1 ". This is the lowest total of rainfall in the first 6 months of a year since 2014 when we only had .9" through June..............funny thing about that very dry start to 2014 was that we ended up getting 25 inches of rain from July through December! Crazy! So maybe we can get a little help from Mother Nature to send a portion of that rain our way because we are in desperate need.
The GMS team would like to thank you for your continued support and understanding during these different and somewhat difficult times and we want to wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day weekend !