The Antioch, Calif. property says it is taking extreme measures to conserve water during an historic drought. “If [area] homeowners [have to cut water usage], why shouldn’t golf courses,” says the club’s GM. “We took it upon ourselves to join sides with them and do what’s right.”
The Golf Club at Roddy Ranch in Antioch, Calif. is taking extreme measures to conserve water in response to the historic drought that is afflicting central California, television station KTVU TV 36 of Oakland, Calif. reported, with a new campaign called “Brown is the New Green.”
The club’s General Manager, Kevin Fitzgerald, told KTVU that the campaign was born three months ago while water companies were asking area homeowners to cut back on their water usage. Roddy Ranch uses 100 percent non-potable water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, Fitzgerald said.
“We decided if the homeowner has to do it, why shouldn’t the golf courses have to do it,” Fitzgerald said. “We took it upon ourselves to join sides with them and do what’s right.”
Roddy Ranch plans to reduce its water usage by 30 percent with a two phase approach, Fitzgerald explained to KTVU. The first phase includes changes currently being made at the driving range, to replace ryegrass with drought-resistant Bermuda grass. The second phase involves maintenance crews shutting off sprinkler heads in outlying areas of the course, to focus on the greens, tees and fairways.
A handful of sprinklers have already been shut off and irrigation crews are hand-watering instead of using the sprinkler system in certain parts of the course, KTVU reported
Golfers at Roddy Ranch may notice some brown spots as a result of the new measures, Fitzgerald said, but they should be seen as an indication of how the club is being responsible.
“Our goal this year is to save approximately 40 million gallons of water,” he said. “That’s 300 houses, just to put it into perspective.”
Players interviewed by KTVU said they are embracing the change and felt its impact should be minimal.
“We can’t control how much water falls, but we can control how much we use,” said John Johnson of Oakland.
“There seem to be a few brown spots, but I support that because we don’t have enough water for everything,” added Bill Brown, another golfer.
And Bill Brown’s brother, Joe, cited the bright side of conserving water. “The ball goes farther when [the grass} is a little bit harder,” he said. “We both cannot hit the long ball, so this enhances our score.”
Fitzgerald added The playability of the Roddy Ranch course will remain consistent, Fitzgerald told KTVU, and he hopes other golf clubs in the Bay Area will see that and follow suit to implement water conserving efforts that are up to par.
“Every golf course in the country, just not the Bay Area or California, should be doing their part to save our natural resource,” he said.
Roddy Ranch’s “Brown is the New Green” campaign will likely last through the summer months, KTVU reported, or until the Bay Area receives some much-needed rain.
C&RB recently reported on other “brown is green” initiatives that have gained momentum after the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Open competitions held over the last two weeks highlighted the new look and conservation measures implemented at North Carolina’s Pinehurst resort (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2014/06/20/pinehursts-brown-look-draws-attention/).
The Course & Grounds feature in C&RB’s July issue will also provide an update on water-conserving irrigation and course-design measures being implemented at leading courses such as Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Philadelphia (Pa.) Cricket Club and The Resort at Pelican Hills, Newport Beach, Calif.
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