The “Desert Sun” in Palm Springs, California, noted in a recent articles that water challenges facing all aspects of California business – inlcuding the golf industry – is becoming the “new norm.” Adjustments are being made at courses across the state, and more states are keeping a watchful eye on the success of California courses.

The article states: “‘I think water is the No. 1 issue for the future of new facilities for the western United States,’ said Paul Levy, the general manager at Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells and the national vice president for the PGA of America. ‘I can foresee for the next 20 years and trending forward that water will be our No. 1 issue.’

“With California in one of the worst statewide droughts in its history and with mandatory water reductions of up to 36 percent looming, golf courses throughout the Coachella Valley are trying to understand what state-mandated reductions means to them immediately.

‘We need to be more proactive with the government agencies in making sure they know how efficient we are with water, the amount of money that golf courses and country club owners create and how important we are to the economy,’ said Levy. According to the California Alliance for Golf, golf is a $13 billion industry in the state, including $4.1 billion in wages to 128,000 workers.

“Toscana is also in the process of adding eight new holes to complete a 36-hole original design from 10 years ago by architect and golf legend Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA Fellow. The eight holes are for the North Course at Toscana that will feature just 76 acres of irrigated grass, far below the average of 120-130 acres for a typical 18-hole course. Less irrigated turf is another option for golf courses, something that Levy saw in his time overseeing three courses in Las Vegas.

“‘We went through turf-reduction there,’ Levy said. ‘It was a dollar-for-dollar square-foot rebate. For every square foot you converted to xeriscaping and drip irrigation and native desert and the like — I think that’s like 43,000 or 44,000 square feet in an acre — you get money. Well, I can take out that grass and turn out the DG (decomposed granite ground cover) and drip irrigators for about $20,000 and get the $44,000. We converted about 70 acres when I was there on three golf courses.'”

The entire “Desert Sun” article can be seen here.

ASGCA members are experts in addressing turfgrass reduction and water conservation. Fliers on these two topics are availbale from ASGCA here and here.