Saddle Creek Resort Cuts Irrigation 40% to Help With Drought
September 9, 2014
Count Saddle Creek Resort, located in Copperopolis in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Angels Camp, as one of the many Northern California courses doing their part to help during California’s historic drought.
Saddle Creek, which co-hosted this year’s NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship, has reduced irrigation of its golf course by 40% since June, saving over 200,000 gallons of water daily.
“We need to do what is right for California,” said Saddle Creek general manager Rick Morgan. “At the same time, we’re giving our guests a glimpse of how golf courses may routinely look a bit more ‘brown’ in the very near future.”
Despite the cutback in water consumption, highly regarded layout remains in excellent condition. Superintendent Pat Smyth and his maintenance team have made several adjustments to its typical turf care practices to ensure superior course conditions including
- Concentrating irrigation efforts on tees, fairways and greens
- Watering the rough at a greatly reduced rate
- Limiting many 360-degree sprinkler heads to making 180-degree turns
- Hand watering and syringing fairways
According to Morgan, players have been receptive to the changes. The course’s consistent, smooth putting surfaces remain, complemented by firm and fast landing areas that help players hit drives longer than ever before.
As part of the Poppy Hills renovation, which was driven by water conservation, nearly 20,000 acres of previously irrigated turf was restored to its natural state.
“We can’t say enough about what a phenomenal job Pat and his team has done to implement the new program,” added Morgan. “Our head golf professional Tyler Brown has also been integral to the process as the point person communicating the rationale for these changes to our golfers.”
Saddle Creek, which opened in 1996 and plays as a 6,826-yard par-72, is routed through undulating terrain and features stunning vistas of the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite mountains.
It was ranked No.12 by Golfweek as a “Best Course You Can Play” in California for 2014, besting among others Trump National GC in Los Angeles and Silverado Resort in Napa, site of the upcoming Frys.com Open.