I'm back, if you missed me (and even if you didn't) after a long-awaited visit from my sister and brother, and their respective spouses, all the way from my (our) home turf in the great state of Texas, which I love dearly. It was good to see them; we don't see much of each other at all these days, mostly weddings and funerals, because of the distance from here to there, so we always want an opportunity to be well-enjoyed by everyone. Unfortunately, due to the significant level of chaos caused by the millions of fires (seems like that many, anyway) burning across Northern California at present, we didn't get to do the wine country tour they had been looking forward to, and I'm sorry for that. I hope we get a chance to do it for them sooner rather than later.
Moving on, I have to take an opportunity to vent some steam toward a handful of my professional brethren, who continue to put the golf industry in the crosshairs of environmentalists and conservationists (and lots of other people, as well) by way of their unconscionable waste of water during times of drought when tens of thousands of Westerners can't get enough water to perform some of life's most basic functions. I have in front of me an article by Brandi Shaffer published several days ago by Club and Resort Business magazine in an online posting, which highlights the fact that the Phoenix area golf community of courses (Maricopa County) were found to have used an average of slightly more than 80 million gallons of water per day in a 2010 US Geological Survey report, which is more than twice as much as the second place water guzzler, Riverside County (California), at least according to this article. I would tend to believe that Ms. Shaffer is accurately reporting the survey's findings, since C&RB has proven reliable in the past. This report is compiled every five years according to the AP so we should see an updated version in the near future, which will, we can hope, reflect a substantial reduction in that number as superintendents, boards, and management companie respond to the worsening crisis caused by the devastating drought impacting the western states.I feel certain that this will be the case, because at heart most professional property managers in the golf industry are responsible individuals who are conservationists at heart. Most of them will, if allowed to do so, and if funds are available, do as many of the things that they know will reduce their property's demand for water as possible and practical. Taking certain areas off the irrigation grid and allowing them to return to native grasses and other vegetation, installing more drought-tolerant turf cultivars, eliminating some "aesthetic" water features, increasing mowing heights in some areas, as well as at least a dozen other initiatives on the part of course owners and managers can have significant positive impacts on water consumption with absolutely no decline in playing conditions (and many times conditions are improved through these actions). I know that there are a lot of people scrutinizing the activities and actions of those of us in the golf industry each and every day, as they should, and articles like the one I've just highlighted only serve to enhance that scrutiny. Therefore, I urge each of my fellow industry professionals to do all possible, and to proselytize relentlessly, to persuade those controlling the purse-strings and making decisions regarding policy and planning, to find new, more, and better ways to manage our resources and be better citizens. Our game has struggled with image in the past, and still does at times, but it's changing as the public becomes more aware of the initiatives and day-to-day efforts of golf facilities to lead and innovate as we work our way through these times and position ourselves for the future, so let's turn up the volume.
On a different subject, I can,t remember the last time I tasted a wine from Sterling Vineyards that really impressed me until recently, when I picked up a bottle of their 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley.This is really tasty stuff, especially at the price ($14.95 here in Norcal, which puts it squarely in the "workingman's wine" category that we love so much ($25-28 max); problem is, it may be drying up as I'm not sure how close they may be to a vintage change. So I urge you to get in touch with your Sterling wholesaler if you're an F&B type, or just hike on down to your friendly local wine merchant's place of business if you're simply a wine lover, and pick up a bottle or two before it disappears. Bright color, a mature citrus-and- wet stones nose, and lush, firm fruit that is typical Napa-ish in character, with Meyer lemon and a long persistent finish that is perfect with chicken any way you want it, but seems particularly suited to a curry dish.Try it, you'll like it...and take care not to overchill it...
The drought marches on. although most people continue to do what they can to be responsible and continue to reduce their usage. More next time...
By the way for those of you who jumped on Chef Dan's wonderful white cheddar meal-in-a-bowl soup a couple of weeks ago, we'll see if we can't persuade him to do another contribution in the next letter.