Barona’s shrinking turf gives back to the game

You could say that Barona Creek Golf Club has already done its part in being environmentally aware—it is, after all, one of only a handful of golf courses that has earned Bronze Signature Sanctuary Certification from Audubon International.

The 7,448-yard San Diego golf course, owned and operated by the Barona Band of Mission Indians, is taking one more step in that mentality, though, by embarking on an ambitious turf reduction plan that will lower irrigation and maintenance needs to enhance its conservation of natural resources.

Barona already uses 100 percent reclaimed water, thanks to its on-site wastewater treatment facility, the elimination of alternate tee boxes and the conversion of 10 to 12 acres of out-of-play turf to waste bunkers or more natural landscape. Several more environmental issues will be addressed, ranging from reduced fuel and energy consumption to the use of fewer fertilizers and chemicals used for maintenance. The multi-phased project also calls for limiting overseeding to tees and roughs, lowering maintenance requirements by an additional 10 to 15 percent.

The result? Water savings that could run as high as 100 percent in those turf areas that will be eliminated or returned to native plantings, without sacrificing the beauty of the facility.

“Being more environmentally friendly and aesthetically appealing are not mutually exclusive terms. We will still be green and gorgeous,” says Sandy Clark, Barona’s superintendent. “These water-saving innovations at Barona Creek are about more than self-preservation. They are also helping the environment and hopefully influencing the golf community at large.”

--From FORE Magazine, March/April 2009