Dairy Creek Golf and our Water Issues

There have been quite a number of rumors regarding the future of Dairy Creek Golf Course.  The primary rumor is that Dairy Creek is closed or will be closing soon.  There is no plan to close the golf course as San Luis Obispo County Parks sees this facility as an important recreational asset for the City of San Luis Obispo and to all County residents as a whole.  It is true that the drought has taken a toll on this property and to our golfers as well.  The lack of water during the summer months for the past two years has produced firm and fast conditions indeed.  The tan dormant grass may have caused your golf shots to end up in undesirable places more often than usual.  These conditions require us to change our way of playing the course and treat it a bit more like a British course in which the “bump and run” is a requirement to score well.  We can hit some personal record drives with the firm fairways, but realize that this may result in a tough position from which to play and you may have been better off hitting a 215 yard 7 iron instead.

This winter provided us more rain than we have seen in 3-4 years and our ponds filled beyond their banks.  This means we will have more water this year than we did last year.  Our primary source of water (aside from captured rain water) still remains the California Men’s Colony. The California State Prison system has been required to reduce population numbers and that means less water for reclamation.  The amount of water that we expect to receive during the summer from CMC on a daily basis is barely one third of the water that we need every day.  This means continued lack of water and dry conditions for Dairy Creek Golf Course.

This summer we will be trying some different strategies to overcome the lack of water.  We are beginning to experiment with irrigating tee boxes so that only a small area of each tee is watered rather than the entire tee and surrounding roughs.  The saved water from tee boxes would allow more water for irrigating fairways or at least target areas of the fairways.  Staff has discussed ideas to prevent decent shots from reaching the creeks and ponds so that our golf balls are not lost rolling unstoppable through the roughs.  Special “Dairy Creek summer rules” have also been considered in an effort to increase the enjoyment of the golf course.  More information regarding these rules will be coming soon or feel free to make your own rules among your group.  We sometimes must remind ourselves that golf is supposed to be fun and enjoyable.

At this time Dairy Creek needs our support as it belongs to all of us as County residents.  Our golf courses are not supported by tax funds or any other funds for that matter, but through fees collected from participation.  The course is an Enterprise program and must survive with the revenue that it collects.  So the number one thing you can do to support Dairy Creek Golf Course is to come out and play more golf and tell your fellow golfers how much fun you had.  County Parks’ staff will be meeting before the County Board of Supervisors on May 17th at 9am to discuss the issues surrounding Dairy Creek Golf Course in hopes that some solutions may be found.

Finally, thank you all for your loyalty to Dairy Creek and we look forward to serving you for many years to come. It was an absolute pleasure working in the pro shop in 2015 and getting know many of you and putting some names to faces. I look forward to seeing you at Dairy Creek and our other two golf courses in the near future and until then, have fun and hit your shots into the short grass.

Sincerely,

Josh Heptig
Golf Superintendent
San Luis Obispo County Parks