Golf Course Management

JUL 2019

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 39 of 139

38 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.19 for cut-flower production but also to draw pollinators and beneficial insects. Alyssum is widely used as a living mulch or cover crop, while sweet peas, dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons, strawflowers, statice, poppies and echinacea are some cut-flower favorites. is beautiful and fragrant display of blooms is ever-changing yet continually attracts beneficial species. e results have exceeded even our most optimistic expectations. Bumblebees, drag- onflies, tree frogs and snakes have all made homes in the garden. Native birds, like red- winged blackbirds, love the dried sunflower heads, while rufous hummingbirds partic- ularly enjoy the bean flowers while aiding in pollination. A large population of Pacific tree frogs helps naturally manage the insect population. In addition to attracting these local spe- cies, the garden serves as a destination for a resident honeybee population. A local apia- rist and honey producer, Babe's Honey, has kept hives in an undeveloped corner of the golf course property for 25 years. Our gar- dens, ponds and natural areas support the production of their wildflower honey, which is sold year-round in our pro shop. Orchard mason bee houses are strategically installed every spring to encourage the population of this seasonal bee. is species aids in the pol- lination of fruit trees and other early-flower plants but needs some assistance to thrive. As the vegetable garden has matured and settled into a balanced ecosystem, the abun- dance of insects, reptiles and birds help to naturally control seasonal pest populations and indicate overall garden health. In ad- dition to these natural inhabitants, 70,000 adult ladybugs are released into the garden from spring to early summer. ey act as a biological control for aphids and other soft bodied mites. is year, dozens of ladybug larvae were spotted throughout the garden, a sign that the population is becoming established. e biodiversity of the growing space improves the success of the garden, the produce and the overall golf course. As a long-time Certi- fied Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary facil- ity, these sustainable efforts encourage and support a thriving bird, wildlife and insect population. Opening the garden gate While golf courses are appreciated as a beautiful and dedicated greenspace, the pri- mary recreational function can limit the un- derstanding of its potential as a wide-rang- ing growing space. By reclaiming an unused corner of the golf course and transforming it into a vegetable garden, we have created distinct benefits beyond the fresh produce and cut flowers. e gardening practices we affectionately refer to as "Fairway to Table" are a constant topic of conversation and a true source of pride for everyone connected. e success of the program relies on collaboration between a range of staff and promotes positive team building across departments. e story of this program is primarily shared by pro shop staff or restaurant servers, as they are the first to engage with members and patrons. Furthermore, members and customers continue to spread the story among guests and visitors. People enjoy observing the gar- den and understanding the process of our fairway-to-table program. Many regulars and members have a special interest in the yearly progress and success of the garden. It is not uncommon to see people taking pic- tures of the garden and even selfies with it, to share their experience with friends and family. is word-of-mouth advertising is an invaluable source of support for our proj- ects and facility. is success allows us to spread the bounty of the garden and give back to the community. rough the summer, small fresh-cut flower bouquets are available by donation to a local charity organization, with nearly $600 raised last summer alone. We continued this annual initiative through the holiday season, with decorative greenery swags and wreaths available by donation. Creative initiatives like these contribute to a good cause and allow people to take a piece of the Cordova Bay experience home with them. Seasonal displays, fresh greenery and cut-flower arrangements help cultivate a unique experience at our facility by utilizing the natural resources of the golf course. ese programs are so well-received that seasonal decorating workshops, informa - tive cooking seminars and tours of the gar- den are regularly scheduled club events. To keep up to date with garden progress and seasonal practices, a monthly newsletter is published to the public and membership. Additionally, daily garden photos are con- nected to the website through social media. e buzz surrounding the veggie garden ex- tends beyond the golf circle; this year our team hosted horticulture college students and a local Master Gardener chapter. From creating a community and pro- viding quality produce, to improving the understanding of golf courses as a diverse space, the fairway-to-table program is a small investment with a large return. Dean Piller is the GCSAA Class A golf course superin- tendent at Cordova Bay Golf Course in Victoria, British Columbia, and a 32-year member of the association. Emily Peltier is the head horticulturist at Cordova Bay. For updates on Cordova Bay's fairway-to-table program, visit its Instagram page @gardensofthebay. This is just a fraction of the bounty produced by Cordova Bay Golf Course's fairway-to-table program.

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