In order to continue and grow our strong commitment toward environment stewardship, Kelowna Springs started a course naturalization project in the fall of 2014 and we are not alone. According to a recent USGA funded survey 46% of US golf courses are increasing their average of naturalized areas.
Naturalizing areas on a golf course is not simply for the purpose of easier maintenance. At Kelowna Springs we base our naturalization decisions on four important factors:
- Will it build up the character and definition of the hole?
- Will it enhance our water management techniques?
- Can we ensure that our playing surfaces remain pure?
- Does it increase our environmental partnership with mother nature?
Standing on a tee box each hole should be unique, with its own individual characteristics. By adding certain naturalized areas we can change the sight lines of the holes, and ensure that the course is played the way the architect, Les Furber, designed it.
Les Furber has designed more than 60 courses in Canada and remodelled many others. In each design he focuses on the unique characteristics that reflect the topography of the land he is working on. We want to maintain and even enhance those unique characteristics.
These new naturalized areas will eventually allow us to modify the design of the irrigation system to give the playable areas better coverage. We can alter our watering window to ensure our programs have sufficient time to finish their watering cycle before play commences. We will improve our water management and at the same time be able to redirect maintenance time to other areas. We also hope that these areas are appealing wildlife habitats.
At the end of 2019, we had 6.28 acres or 6.5% of naturalized areas on our property.
We hope to increase this amount by another .42 acres in 2020 bringing the total to 6.7 acres or almost 7% of our property. In order to accomplish this we are focusing on expansion of the area behind #3 green and a new zone to the right of #2 tee box.
If you have any questions about our Naturalization projects please stop and ask our Superintendent Gil next time you see him on the course.