Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A true "Golf for the Health" of it example.

Hopefully, if you are a golfer you understand or know that golf is good for your health.  Playing 18-holes of golf burns roughly 2000 calories while walking and 1300 calories in a cart.  That 18-hole walk is equivalent to a 5 mile walk or a 3.5-4 mile run and your blood glucose levels can fall by 10-30% depending upon your age.  These facts and figures have been proven to be true by the Walker Research Group.

The game of golf also provides ample opportunities for charitable organizations and foundations to raise funds through golf tournaments.  In 2011, $3.9 billion were raised in the US using golf as a vehicle.  12 million people attended the various events that raised the funds across the United States.  $40 million has been awarded by the United States Golf Association (USGA) since 1920, for environmental and turf research to provide golf courses with information to reduce impacts to the environment.

Saturday September 28th we are combining the best of both of these worlds at Chalk Mountain Golf Course without the golf!  The golf course will remain closed until 9 am.  At 9 am both nines will be used.  The front 9 will allow golfers to get their fix and begin play, while the back 9 will host the first Community Walk to stop diabetes. 

This is the 6th hole at CMGC as seen from the 7th tee box
The participants will walk the cart paths and fairways of the back 9 holes to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association.  If you are not a golfer, this is your weekend to get out and experience all of the beauty that a golf course has to offer.  To join in the walk or make a donation please click on this link: Chalk Mountain Diabetes Walk.  Who knows you may even become a golfer so that you can come experience this beauty more often while you improve your health through recreation.  I look foward to seeing you on Saturday!
Deer grazing the rough on the second hole at Chalk Mountain with the 3rd green in the background

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It has been a while...

I hope you enjoyed our most recent post about the sheep on the golf course.  They really are neat to have as part of our course as they have been part of and remain a part of golf in Scottland and Ireland. My apologies for the lack of posts for the past couple of months, but it is not because nothing has been happening we have just been busy.  I will follow up with a montage of posts getting you up to speed over the next week or so.  Here is a list of happenings since we last spoke:

  • Morro Bay hosted a LiveGreen event to promote golf and the games efforts toward environmentalism
  • All of our courses and 11 other courses in the area received recycling containers for the golf courses as part of a grant program with the Integrated Waste Management Association.
  • County Park and Golf courses participated at the Mid-State Fair
  • Dairy Creek is Teeing it Forward
  • Fairways and tees were verticutt at Morro Bay
  • Sheep are now at Dairy Creek

Friday, September 6, 2013

Zero Waste Golf - the next page

The sheep as they munched the grass and weeds along the left side of #10
Perhaps you have read a golf article preaching the use of goats or sheep to clear areas of brush or out of play areas.  Maybe you have even played golf on a course where this tactic is used occasionally. We hope to take this step a bit further than most in the name of research and sustainability.  Yes sheep are being used to maintain our Dairy Creek golf course.  No, we are not going back the the original practices of golf where these animals were the sole way that turfs were managed, but we will use these amazing creatures to maintain and enhance our "native areas" surrounding the holes and golf course.

Our goal with our sheep is to assist with land and resource management as part of our Zero Waste initiative.  Before the land was developed into a golf course this area looked like the surrouning hillsides including whispy grasses as a food source for grazing cattle.  As the earth was churned and tilled to create Dairy Creek various weed seed and undesireable plant species were able to germinate and compete with the new landscape.  Although the golf course was created with minimal disturbance to the topography and soils the disturbance was just enough to allow these undesireable species to flourish in unirrigated areas of the course.

The Animal Science professors at nearby Cal Poly University have worked with us to develop a plan to return the plant species back to what it once was through the use of grazing.  Many people envision grazing as a negative practice.  Performed correctly it can be an amazing tool for land management.  Grazing has gotten a bad repuptation as animals are often left in areas too long and over-grazing occurs.  Our animals are left in a certain area for no more than 2-4 days dependent upon the amount of feed and litter for ground cover and habitat.  We don't want bare or nearly bare soil.  Actually when the sheep are ready to be moved there is actually quite a bit of plant material left for other wildlife to use for cover.

The sheep in this photo are ready to be moved.

Before we added the sheep to our maintenance team we had some grad students come to the course and perform a plant population study to determine what species currently exist in our native areas and in what densities.  These students utilized our Environmental Impact Report taht was developed before the land became a golf course to determine what waws here before the course exhisted.  The goal is to bring the species diversity back into what nature had intended and at the same time alleviate our need for chemical and mechanical means to maintain these areas of our course.  Our hillsides do provide food and shelter for some large predators in the form of Mountain Lions, so we were are not able to let the sheep run free.  Instead they are moved around the property in approximately 1/8 acre sections enclosed by electrified fencing.  This has proven to work well as we still have all 20 ewes and their 20 lambs.  We will keep you up to date as this project progresses.