Thad Layton, architect and vice president at Arnold Palmer Design Company, is overseeing the second phase of a renovation project at The Saticoy Club in Somis, California.
The club is converting fairways to Santa Ana bermuda. “Fairway areas were expanded to get as much warm season grass out there as possible,” said Robert Nagelberg, general manager at The Saticoy Club. “We also renovated all the bunkers to improve playability and ease of maintenance – combining or eliminating where unnecessary, and installing Capillary Concrete to prevent washouts.”
Phase two has now started and focuses on the back nine, as well as collars and approaches throughout the course. “All short grass surfaces, with the exception of the greens, will be 100 per cent warm season grass,” said golf course superintendent Tim Paulson. “This is so key to reducing our dependence on water.
“The main driving force for the current work has been sustainability. Water is never going to be available to us as it was in the past. Furthermore, our water quality is poor – even more reason to convert to relatively bulletproof bermuda.
“Going from winter grasses to summer grasses allows the course to be in its best shape during the busier months that see the most sunlight, increasing member enjoyment and access. Some of the drought-tolerant projects allow us to put monies in other areas down the road to continue making Saticoy special.
“We are also working to reduce our irrigation footprint in other areas by converting to woodchips or native grasses. We are currently testing several native grass mixes that require no supplemental irrigation – aside from establishment. For long-term benefits, we also began to incorporate tall fescue in the roughs, which should help make those areas more drought tolerant as well.”
Layton said: “The most impactful part of the master plan was the aggressive clearing of conifers. Aside from the obvious benefits of increased playability and better turf conditions, removing the trees opened up distant views of the mountains and avocado groves, lending context and restoring the identity of The Saticoy Club. On a clear day, the Channel Islands are visible from a number of vantage points on the back nine.”
APDC has developed and executed the master plans, as well as assembling the team of shaping specialists to implement the fine details of the project, including Brett Hochstein and Jeff Bradley. The project team also includes contractor Heritage Links, construction superintendent John Bolasky and West Coast Turf. Hochstein was also involved with many of the design decisions.
This article first appeared in the July 2019 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.