The construction works for the extension to 18 holes in New Sierra Golf advances in full swing. The seeding works in greens and bermudagrass sprigging in the rest of the playing areas have been completed, and the new 9-hole course is maturing well, having our eye on the progress during the autumn.
During the last two months, apart from finalizing the monitoring and supervision of the construction works, we have started to provide the agronomy services for the grow-in strategy and its supervision. We go deeper into this phase, and we will share some details about it and why it has been challenging. To sum it up, the available water for irrigation is limited and with high salt content, which slows down turf growth rates during establishment.
The variety of turfgrass species selected for the greens was Agrostis stolonífera var. T-1. This was an obvious choice in order to provide consistency with the other 9 holes of the course, where this variety offers great playing conditions. The seeding works took place along July, during a severe and long heat wave that affected a great part of Europe. Nevertheless, germination was excellent and seedling maturation progressed very well without any major incident. Greens offer 100% coverage now, mowing heights are under 6 mm, and cultural practices such as rolling, brushing and topdressing are weekly undertaken to increase smoothing of the putting surface.
In the rest of the playing areas, bermudagrass Tifway 419 was selected and sprigging took place during July too. The sprigs were harvested 24 h before planting, for which a top-dressing machine with disk spreaders and a row sprig planter was used. Ultimately, the playing surfaces were rolled thoroughly to smooth the surfaces and ensure an adequate sprig-soil insertion.
At the moment, we expect to achieve a good bermudagrass coverage before winter dormancy, and continuing an intensive maintenance program in spring when growth resumes. During winter, landscaping works will be carried out, as well as pending construction works such as cart paths and some civil works.
The Irrigation system of the new 9-hole course has been designed by our irrigation design team. This process has been led by the Irrigation Association “Certified Irrigation Designer and Auditor”, Mr. Pablo Munoz – IA nº110662, partner and co-founder of the company.
As previously mentioned, the limited availability of water has resulted in a challenging irrigation programming strategy for the bermudagrass establishment. It implied a daily monitoring of the available volume in the reservoirs, a very detailed irrigation programming, as well as a reconfiguration of the irrigation software by updating of the hydraulic tree of the whole course, and the sprinkler data base, flow ramp, etc. It also required to adopt a deficit irrigation strategy in the existing 9-hole course, that saved more than 1.000 cubic meters daily. This complex water management strategy has allowed us to overcome a demanding summer and guarantee enough available irrigation water for a successful grow-in.
Regarding water conservation, a 40.000 m3 new lake has been constructed in lowest area of the property (hole nº2). This lake that has been lined, will collect both surface and drainage water, to then be pumped into the irrigation lake.