I hope you all have been enjoying the golf course this summer. It has been a busy year with many repairs and improvements club wide. Our focus through the summer is to provide the best possible conditions for both daily and tournament play, with irrigation management at the forefront.
Since late June, we have not only seen a prolonged heat spell, but historic high temperatures for our entire region. Managing the turf through this extended stress period required raising mowing heights on greens, intermittent mowing and rolling and increased hand-watering of green and tee areas. During this time, our dedicated maintenance staff adjusted work schedules to ensure proper care of the course while enduring some tough working conditions. We appreciate all of you that show gratitude and support for our team throughout the year!
I assume you are all aware that Central Oregon is experiencing one of the worst water years in its history. Multiple years of drought, below average snowpack and reduced storage levels in our reservoirs led to our main water source (Arnold Irrigation Canal) being cut off last year during the irrigation season from mid-August to mid-September. This was something the club had not seen since the early 1990s. Our supplemental water source, a 377 foot deep well, provided sufficient water during this period. Over the winter we upgraded the system with a new submersible well pump as the old one was nearly 27 years old.
As hopeful as we were this spring coming out of an average snowpack winter, we are back in a very difficult water situation again. The Arnold Irrigation Canal was turned off again this year on Saturday, July 31. We will rely on the well to meet our irrigation needs for at least the next 6 ½ weeks. There is a possibility of Arnold turning back on around mid-September based on natural flow rates.
In addition to surface water being an issue this year, the aquifer levels have also changed around the region. Wells are drying up and showing signs of less water at the shallower levels. We are hopeful that our well will produce the water we need to get us through the remainder of the season or until Arnold Irrigation is able to resume its delivery. With so many unpredictable factors this may be the reality we continue to face until we have a series of above average winters. We are proactively consulting with our pump contractor on the next steps to ensure a reliable source of water for our future.
So, what does the rest of the season look like? We are fortunate that the days are getting shorter and water requirements will decrease as we move into fall. At this point, the playability of the course should be unaffected, as a drier golf course makes for better playing conditions. We do ask that you take care in where you drive carts by avoiding all areas that appear dry. The best place to be is down the middle of the fairway and on paths when near greens and tees.
Again, we thank you for your support and are looking forward to a stress-free end of the season and lots more great golf.
Golf Course Superintendent