Arizona Groundwater Management (What is it? How does it impact golf in the Phoenix area? How does it impact Westbrook Village Golf Club?
Historically, Arizonans have pumped ground water faster than it was replaced naturally – a condition known as “overdraft”. Groundwater overdraft creates significant problems including increased costs for drilling and pumping and the eventual loss of supply. Water quality also suffers because groundwater pumped from greater depths typically contains more salt and minerals. In areas of severe groundwater depletion, the earth’s surface may sink, or “subside”, causing cracks or fissures that can damage roads, building foundations, and other underground structures.
Recognizing continued depletion of finite groundwater supplies as a threat to prosperity and quality of life, the Arizona Legislature created the framework to manage the state’s water supply for the future. (Source: “Securing Arizona’s Water Future” http://infoshare.azwater.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-11348/Groundwater_Code_Overview.pdf
The 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management Code established five Active Management Areas (AMA) and within each AMA five Water Management Plans of which we are currently in the 3rd, with the 4th taking effect in 2023 and the 5th in 2025. Each successive plan continues to reduce the allotments of groundwater to be withdrawn. However, Arizonans should not be waiting for the mandates reducing water usage. Good water conservation practices should be integrated into their business and everyday life strategies.
How does this impact golf in the Phoenix Area?
Provided for your reading pleasure is an article relating to the discussions from the last Turf Management meeting for the golf industry in Phoenix. All golf courses in the Phoenix Active Management Area will be impacted (some more than others) going forward for a very long time.
David Escobedo and I have participated in the ADWR and Golf Alliance meetings both pre and during COVID-19.
David Escobedo and I have participated in the ADWR and Golf Alliance meetings both pre and during COVID-19.
How does this impact Westbrook Village Golf Club?
The article above addresses the golf courses in the Phoenix Active Management Area and WBVGC falls within that AMA. Since the mid-1980s, the USGA has provided millions of dollars supporting golf course water conservation research. The goal is to use scientific information to more efficiently use water. Turf is a major part of any water usage plan.
Turf removal, of course, is one answer as we did in the Lakes Irrigation Project in 2015. Xeriscape has its drawbacks, but it does reduce water used to overseed our turf. Doing less overseeding and allowing the bermuda to do its natural thing (turn gold in the winter) is an option as well. We have all three on our golf courses – overseeded turf, nonoverseeded turf and xeriscaped areas.
ADWR 4th management plan informs golf courses will receive a water allotment for 90 acres of irrigated turf (that equates to 5 acres per hole). The 5th management plan is expected to reduce that even more and put less low water surface areas (landscaped/xeriscaped) in their calculations. Part of the Golf Alliance discussions are that 90 acres is not the same 90 acres on all courses. Rolling hills are beautiful, but they require extra water to ensure the top of the hill gets adequate water. In the case of our courses which are built on clay, the water cannot soak down into the ground and instead runs off to a low spot. This leaves spotty areas on the fairway and of course oversaturation. Here is one picture that shows what that looks like.
Although we have adopted (and will continue to) many non turf water reduction practices, in this article I will just address two relating to turf:
- Vistas 10 acres per year turf removal. We have many acres on the Vistas course that removal of turf does not negatively impact the playability of the course but can positively impact the gallons of water used. Those areas chosen blend in with existing xeriscaping and have ample trees and shrubs, relieving us from the expense of purchasing, planting and watering additional landscape in those areas. This year we have marked the removal of 6 acres on holes #6, #7, #8, #9. Our goal is to have the golf course to the 90 acre requirement by 2023 when the 4th management plan goes into affect. The Lakes course is currently around 92 acres. We will monitor our annual water usage reports, which change based on monsoons, wind, heat, evaporation, well operations and well construction and adjust to additional turf removal efforts as required.
- Working with HOA’s Water Reduction Plan. We will continue to work with the Homeowners Association in planning the “Secondary out-of-play” overseeded areas that run between the streets and the golf course property. We established a Water Task Force prior to COVID-19 and have not reconvened as of yet. During our Task Force meeting a Westbrook Village Golf Club Water-Usage Preparation and Drought-Emergency Plan was drafted. We followed the USGA Drought-Emergency Plan Guide which included these steps:
- Secure an accurate map of the property
- Determine the size of turf and landscape areas
- Determine how much water is used annually to irrigate the golf course ( ADWR Annual Water Usage Report)
- Develop a prioritized list for irrigation scheduling (from highest priority to least)
- Determine how much water must be reduced for each drought-emergency level and where the reductions will be applied
Each golf member and property owner within Westbrook Village should understand this is not a choice but a must. It is our responsibility today to ensure we reduce the risk of overdrafts, supply, and water quality for the future generations’ prosperity and quality of life. A few adjustments to the eye, done with planned turf reduction, overseeding, and xeriscaping will carry us a long way to securing Arizona’s, Westbrook Village’s, and Westbrook Village Golf Club’s future.
Jill Riedel, President
WBVGC NOTICE: Two Cart Per Group Limit Will Resume October 1, 2021
COVID-19 is beginning to lose some of its power. Effective August 1, 2021 the HOA is re-opening all common area facilities as they enter into their Phase IV re-opening plan. Our Club facilities are now utilizing optional mask wearing status for those that are vaccinated. And effective October 1, 2021 the solo cart rule will no longer be permitted.
Meanwhile, let’s get socializing back in place and share the ride. Enjoy the opportunity to chat with your cart partner about that great drive you just had, how you looked up on that fairway shot, and how you made it up with a ONE putt. Although we are not making this mandatory until October 1st, your voluntary adjustment back into one cart will aide in the improved health of the grass trying its best to grow strong during transition to the Summer.
Bermuda LOVES hot, humid weather and our bodies might feel like it is here already, but alas, the monsoon humidity is not here yet. When the humidity does arrive the bermuda spreads at an accelerated pace. Because humidity levels are extremely low right now (perfect wild fire conditions) we have to supply the humidity artificially by watering heavily in the morning to create a man made humid environment. The extra water assists the spread of the bermuda stolons (spaghetti like leggings that spread horizontally and fill thin areas) and rhizomes (same as stolons but rhizomes are underground). Our excessive cart traffic compacts the ground which significantly reduces the spread of the stolons and rhizomes and prevents water from penetrating the soil. That is why there are many wet spots.
Please help us out by riding together in a cart and remain on the cart paths as much as you can. When you do go off the cart path, watch for those wet areas and avoid them as much as possible, and remember not to drive on the tee boxes and no closer than 30 ft from the greens. If you happen to get in a wet spot, please drive slow and straight as any turning or extra acceleration will tear the turf. Both you and the grass will be happier!
David Escobedo, Golf Course Superintendent
Brandon Evans, Director of Golf
Jill Riedel, President
2021 - Annual USGA Agronomist Report
The annual USGA Agronomist visit has been completed and is shared with our members via this email. I encourage each of you to take the time to read through this very important educational document about the health of our courses and the recommendations provided to continue to create the beauty and playability we continue to enjoy.
|View the Westbrook USGA Report|
We usually have the agronomist come in February. This year we requested he visit in May so that he may review our transition process and analyze the courses after a year of solo carts. In this report you will see the hardship done, by way of compaction of soil (you don’t see it from your cart), and how our Superintendent and his crew did their job very well. David will want to continue with vertical mowing, continuous deep aeration, irrigation, surface management, top dressing, herbicide and fertilizer applications and much more. I ask your understanding during these always frustrating months as the grasses do battle, the compaction increases through cart traffic, dry and windy days causing dehydrated grounds and the unknown tactics of Mother Nature to assist, or not.
I truly enjoy these visits and they continue to confirm the knowledge our Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent bring to their execution of course maintenance. As much as some of our members think the courses are TOO wet, what they don’t get (or see) is 2 inches below the surface is hard clay that prevents the water to soak into the ground and allow the rootzone’s growth. Solo cart use has had its toll on the ground under the grass and it is time WE DO OUR PART! We all need to get back to shared carts versus solo cart. We as members cannot expect David to do it all by himself. So I am asking members to get back into the mode of shared carts and give the courses a break.
I applaud the work our maintenance crew has done with additional work assignments of landscaping the new Well site and pipe path, placing wires for the Vistas dual side sprinklers early to minimize course closures (that is revenue folks), the hole by hole placement of the sprinkler heads (again to minimize course closures) and assisting in preparing the Vistas Northend Practice area, Vistas #4 and Lakes #3 tee box leveling. Thank you ALL!
There is great growth at Westbrook Village Golf Club and I want to thank all the members that “GET IT”. “Get” that the Club Managers and their staffs have faced a shortage of labor and increased workloads, challenges of COVID19, and “Get” that a kind word and a “Bravo Zulu” to them goes a long way to let them know they are appreciated. It takes members like you and a staff like them to make us “the best value in the West Valley”.
Now, read and enjoy! And “thank you” David, Jose, and Golf Course Maintenance Crews” for another quality work year as recognized by the USGA Agronomist Onsite Visit Report.
Respectfully, Jill Riedel, WBVGC President
Greens & Grounds Update - April 23, 2021
As we get closer to the dog days of summer I would like to elaborate on Jill’s member update about the upcoming projects we will be taking on this summer that will help us keep WBVGC a great place to play.
On May 10 construction will begin on the north practice tee at the Vistas GC. The tee will be leveled and expanded towards the middle of the driving range. The shaper will also expand the chipping green in the same fashion. Once the shaping is complete the tee box will be approximately 20% larger in size and the chipping green will be twice as large as it currently is.
After the construction crew is done with the practice area they will begin reconstructing Vistas #4 tee box. The tee box will be leveled and increased in size. It will also be brought out to the very edge of the cart path. When completed the tee box will be similar in size to Vistas #16.
When the construction crew completes Vistas #4 they will then adjourn to the Lakes GC and begin work on #3 tee box. The black tee box will be lowered and the blue/white tee box will be raised to make one big tee for all three markers. Doing so will add approximately 1200 sq ft. of usable tee space.
We expect to have all tee boxes shaped and leveled by May 20. Evergreen Turf will then come in on May 25 & 26 and sod all three tee boxes with Tif Tuf Bermuda grass. Tif Tuf is a newer variety of Bermuda grass that has a darker green color and is more drought and cold tolerant than the other varieties of Bermuda we have been using. It is currently being used by several high end courses in the valley with great results. Our staff will assist both parties during the projects but will primarily focus on keeping the course in good shape. We will renovate several tee boxes annually as time and funds allow.
On June 1 the maintenance staff at the Vistas GC will begin installing the new green side sprinklers. Adding these sprinklers will allow us to control the amount of water we apply on and around the greens. This will allow us to save a significant amount of water. We will do a test run on hole #18 on May 11. The goal is to get the project coordinated so we can be as efficient as possible. We hope to complete the green side sprinkler project in four weeks with as little disruption as possible.
Also in June we will begin the expansion of the Lakes chipping area. This will be done in house and will include the addition of a practice bunker. The project will take approximately four weeks to complete.
On one last note I would like to thank Robert Jungbluth and Dwight Groves and the many volunteers that are a part of the divot repair teams. Their hard work and dedication filling divots and repairing ball marks is a tremendous help to club and golf course maintenance staff. The help of these volunteers allows my staff to do other assignments that help our courses be what they are today. We truly can say it’s a team effort.
Vistas Course Volunteers
1 Sonny Younger, David & Barbara Corn
2 Linda Sisterman
3 John Holt. Dick DeRoche
4 John Holt, Rob & Barb Thurman, Don Munson
5 Randy Norton, Dwight Groves
6 Kurt & Sally Kimmerling, Gerry Dakin
7 Phil Crisp, Bill Saba
8 Mike Christian, Jim & Judy Cooke
9 John & Kelly Finch, John Snyder
10 Mike & MaryAnn Porter, Bill Allen
11 Tony & Mary Kinson
12 Lee & Kathy Theisen, Dan Tennessen
13 Chalres Lehman, Mike Deboski
14 Joe Riha, Steve & Nancy Archibold
15 John Mullin, Betty Ashby, Cathy Raich, Di Gadow
16 Randy Korodi
17 Rob & Kay Hill, Pat Dixon
18 Steve Laws & Dan Theisen
Lakes Course Volunteers
With that being said I hope everyone has a safe and happy summer.
David Escobedo, GCS