According to the United States Drought Monitor, almost half of the country is experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Nevada and California, home to over 1,000 golf courses, are two states going through what's categorized as “exceptional drought.”
Which is why it's no wonder that the growth and sustainability of the game is dependent on the shrinking of a turf footprint. Pinehurst No. 2 did it, leading into the back-to-back U.S. Opens of 2014. They removed 35 acres of turf and 650 sprinkler heads, which resulted in a savings of almost 45 millions gallons of water per year. Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, Calif., removed 30 acres of turf even prior to Governor Jerry Brown's 2014 mandate of water restrictions. Poppy Hills, on the Monterey Peninsula, did it in 2012 when Robert Trent Jones Jr., was asked to renovate his original design. And now Goat Hill Park in Oceanside in Southern California is doing it. And there are countless others, all across the country, asking themselves: What and where on our golf course absolutely needs water?
Goat Hill Park, like Pasatiempo, is also in the process of lobbying for the support that would allow for the conversion of potable to recycled water. Without it, their future is in doubt.
As crazy as it sounds, there are several people—deeply immersed and affected by abnormally dry conditions—that hope for the drought to continue. This, they say, is the desperate times that cause for desperate measures. And those measures, stalled and resisted by politicians, budgets and ignorance, will only get to the finish line if the issue remains desperate.
"We have a saying in the water industry," said one general manager of a California water district, "don't waste a good drought."
On Golf Channel's Morning Drive, Water Week chronicled four narratives, two roundtables and several guests from various perspectives of the golf and water industries. Watch, learn and conserve.
We've compiled all the segments and you can watch them all below. You can also view them on GolfChannel.com under the "Water Week" tag.
Geoff Shackelford on course design and drought conditions
Matt Ginella kicks off Water Week by speaking with Geoff Shackelford, a co-designer of California's Rustic Canyon, about the degree to which water plays a part in course design. He discusses what the public expectations are for the course conditions during a drought. Watch Morning Drive on Golf Channel.
Pasatiempo's continued struggles with water security
In Santa Cruz, Calif., Pasatiempo Golf Club, designed by Alister MacKenzie, has been struggling with water security in drought-stricken northern California for years. Ginella has the latest on the battle.
Superintendents talk water conservation
Ginella is joined by Rhett Evans, CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, who discusses the superintendent's role in water conservation.
How drought impacts golf course design
The President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Steve Smyers sits down with Ginella to talk about how water issues are affecting course design.
Water sustainability roundtable on Morning Drive
Matt Ginella sits down with Jim Moore, Director USGA Green Section; Craig Kessler, Director of Governmental Affairs, SCGA; Bob Farren, Director of Golf Courses and Grounds, Pinehurst Resort; and Dana Lonn, Managing Director Center of Technology, Toro to discuss water conservation in golf. Watch Morning Drive on Golf Channel.
Pinehurst No. 2's transformation
Pinehurst No. 2 transformed – or returned itself – back to its original state as designed by Donald Ross prior to the 2014 U.S. Open. Ginella checks in on how the startling new philosophy of design impacted perceptions of waste areas and non-irrigated rough.
Changing courses to conserve water
Ginella sits down with Bob Farren, Director of Golf Courses and Grounds for Pinehurst Resort, and Jim Moore, Director USGA Green Section, to discuss the changes golf courses like Pinehurst have implemented to conserve water.
How golf course owners are coping with drought
Jay Karen, CEO of the National Golf Course Owner's Association, explains to Matt Ginella the water shortage issues facing golf course owners.
Goat Hill Park: Muni on its way back to sustainability
40 minutes north of San Diego in Oceanside, Goat Hill Park, a historic muni, is in the midst of a rebirth, which also includes water-saving enhancements.
"One of golf's greatest vulnerabilities," Ginella is joined by Jim Moore, Director USGA Green Section; Craig Kessler, Director of Governmental Affairs, SCGA; Bob Farren, Director of Golf Courses and Grounds, Pinehurst Resort; and Dana Lonn, Managing Director Center of Technology, Toro, to discuss water conservation in golf.
Water Week Recap
Ginella and Gary Williams reflect on some important takeaways from Water Week on Morning Drive.