Saddle Creek Resort – the Castle & Cooke golf community in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Calaveras County – has reduced irrigation of its golf course by 40%, saving 400,000 gallons of water daily from June to September 2014.
Despite the cutback, Saddle Creek’s highly-regarded layout is in excellent shape. Led by superintendent Pat Smyth, the maintenance team has made several adjustments to its typical turf care practices to ensure course conditions remain first-rate. They include:
– 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
“We need to do what’s right for California,” says Rick Morgan, General Manager. “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.”
The resort reports players have been very 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.
Saddle Creek is routed through undulating terrain and features stunning views of the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite mountains. Since opening in 1996, the par 72, 6,826-yard course has been heralded by players of all skill levels. It is annually ranked by Golfweek as a “Best Course You Can Play” in California alongside acclaimed layouts like Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Pasatiempo and Torrey Pines’ South Course.