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One must admit: caring for a couple hundred acres of property (both golf course and surrounding desert) presents an ongoing challenge – a challenge easily put aside in difficult economic times. However, savvy superintendents are masters at prioritizing routine maintenance and improvement projects to deliver on those things, both large and small, that make a big difference to golfers. And helps that, along with the superintendent, SunRidge Canyon’s ownership and management team is committed to bringing the golf course back to the best conditions possible.
Yesterday and today Superintendent, Ron Ruppert, and his crew have the golf course all to themselves. One of their tasks is to reestablish a clean edge around the turf where it meets the desert. To that end, they rented a small bulldozer and are hard at work cutting a fresh edge around fairways and creating a buffer between the turf and the desert. This will give the golf course a much cleaner look and allow players to recover a bit more easily.
Because SunRidge Canyon is located in a rugged and densely vegetated piece of property, it can quickly become overgrown. The maintenance crew already removed a ton of vegetation, especially where desert washes cross the line of play. Holes 7, 9, 13 and 16 are the most affected by the clearing of overgrowth. The results are definitive: “It has really opened up the look and feel on these holes,” explained Ruppert. “It should help with pace of play as well by allowing golfers to advance shots that would otherwise be hopelessly unplayable.”
Ruppert’s crew is also aerifying the greens on June 14th and 15th. Aerification reduces turf compaction, increases water and oxygen movement through the soil and promotes root development (among other things). It’s one of the most important instruments in Ruppert’s tool box for creating healthy putting surfaces.
The club recently invested in upgraded irrigation system software that will help Ruppert better manage water distribution and provide additional savings in terms of water and power through greater efficiency. This amounts to an important step in Ruppert’s goal of systematically upgrading the club’s entire irrigation system to improve playing conditions, while at the same time better managing critical resources.
Although these are the main items on Ruppert’s list these days, there are many more in the works this summer, including a few minor tweaks to the golf course itself. More to come.