Golf course architect John Fought is leading a turf removal and water reduction project at the Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert, California.
With the state still suffering through a period of drought, a number of Californian courses are taking steps to reduce the amount of water they use. State mandates on water reduction are forcing the hand of many clubs in the state to up their effort in this area.
Speaking to GCA, Fought said: “Ironwood is an interesting study in that it had way too much turf and lake areas when it was built back in the 1970s. We are carefully replacing the turf and lakes with native areas.”
Fought added that he was hired, as opposed to a landscape architect, as the club wanted to preserve the playing characteristics of the golf courses.
His work this year has included the removal of two lakes on the Desmond Muirhead-designed South Course – one on the par-three fourth hole and one on par-five fifth hole.
A total of 10.45 acres of turf and surface water are to be removed from the South Course this summer, as part of an ongoing three-year plan to a total remove 40 acres of irrigated turf and surface water across the course.
Work will continue going forward, with Fought shifting his focus to reducing turf on non-playing areas.