No Time for Hibernation

Stu Rowland, Director of Agronomy

The winter months are typically the “off-season” of golf where both golf activity and grass growth slow as the winds blow in from the north and cool things down for a while. Both Zoysia and Bermuda on the course and in your yard turn straw brown as grass enters its dormant hibernation for a few months. However, as things slow down with golf and turf, the Agronomy team is busy as ever replacing daily mowing with projects and preparing for the upcoming spring season. This winter has seen much activity both inside the maintenance facility and out on the course, and we are excited to share both.

The team has been anxiously anticipating the arrival of a new equipment fleet — mowers, utility vehicles, specialized equipment for cultural practices and more. Come March and April of this year, our fleet will be turned over as we welcome a new package of Toro turf equipment. A seemingly simple transition, yet choosing equipment for our needs and updating technologies takes months to plan and lengthy advance ordering as deliveries are typically 12-18 months out. Turf equipment has evolved exponentially in my 30 years in the industry. In the mid-90s, greens were usually mowed around 9/64” or .140”. Today, mowing heights on greens are lower than .100” or 1/10”. Today, we’ve thrown out the factions and have embraced the decimal system as the margins of adjustment are so minute. Likewise, spraying technology is now in the cloud and digital world. Applications of fertilizer and fungicides are now applied precisely with GPS spraying technology that eliminate product overlap and waste as we apply them over our 90 acres with sub-one inch accuracy. We can track all applications and even watch the applications in real time online. Amazing!  

These advancements in turf equipment and precision technologies also come as a significant investment. To draw a comparison, a fairway mower in the early 2000s was probably the same cost as a small Ford Ranger. Today, when you see the Agronomy team out mowing on these larger pieces of equipment, it is the equivalent of a fleet of Ford Raptors out there.

Protecting those assets is more important than ever and thus leads us to another exciting winter project of upgrading our maintenance facility. The team has been working hard to create more space to house all this equipment indoors. Organizing our facility, epoxying the floors, painting the walls, and creating more storage space has been a focus of ours in creating areas to protect this equipment as well as produce a cleaner, safer environment for the team.  After our Member-Guest event in April, be on the lookout for “Behind-the-Scenes” tours that we will be hosting as an invitation for you to see the operation from the inside-out.

On-course projects during this season continue as well. These more noticeable events on the course are important as we move our team from mowing every day to “off-turf” areas of improvement. Those projects entail cleaning, edging and planting of landscape and mulch areas — native area mowing, tree grove cleanup, creek and water feature cleanup, and new enhancements like bunker rakes and new yardage plates on tees. In addition to all of this, we are completing the renovation of our irrigation lake. This is a time-consuming process where the old lake liner is removed and replaced to ensure our lakes are not losing our most valuable resource. Lake lining is one of those necessities that isn’t always a visible improvement like new bunker sand, but it is an extremely valuable investment in resource protection.

So, albeit winter, there is no time for hibernation for the Agronomy team. We are excited for these next couple of months as the temperatures warm and the turf begins to wake. We look forward to another beautiful spring golf season and, as always, we’ll see you on the course!

Stu Rowland is the Director of Agronomy at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at 760.275.9459 and

You Might Also Enjoy....


Poolside Paradise!

By: Michael McClellan, Director of Food & Beverage The Swim Club at Cordillera Ranch is the place to be for sunning, relaxing, dining, exercising, playing

Read More »