(Editor's note: The following is from a GCSAA news release issued today)
After several years of trimming at the edges and avoiding the inevitable, the leadership at North Ranch Country Club, 30 miles north of Los Angeles, came to the realization that the area would never again see water in plentiful supply to maintain 175 acres of turf on its 27-hole private golf facility.
The cost was too great. The choice to continue to use the current water allocation was not feasible.
So, when the historic California drought conditions hit this summer and the Metropolitan Water District (MDW) of Southern California, which serves Los Angeles and the surrounding area, doubled its incentive program for turf removal to $2 per square foot, North Ranch golf course superintendent Ryan Bentley took off the gloves.
He showed the club's board that it was worth moving on a dramatic 35-plus-acre turf removal program that would save the club $500,000 annually within five years, after counting the initial costs and the rebate.
“I’d like to think that North Ranch is on the front end of this, and it is one of the largest projects of its kind in the state; but it’s also about being the leader in our community,” said Bentley, who has been a member of GCSAA for 11 years. “Everyone has seen what we are doing, but every club in this area is reevaluating how much turf they need to keep in play.”
According to the Metropolitan Water District, requests for turf removal rebates since the start of 2014 have nearly doubled. The rebate program calls for California-friendly plants and drought-tolerant landscaping to fill in where turf has been removed.
“The tremendous public response clearly demonstrates that Southern California residents and businesses are enthusiastically answering the statewide mandate to lower water demands in this difficult drought,” said MWD board chairman Randy Record.