SoCal golf courses adjusting to new water restrictions amid drought

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Southern California golf courses are bracing for brown fairways as new water restrictions have gone into effect due to California's drought emergency.

"Certainly there's going to be some brown out there," said Brandon Fox, the PGA director of golf for the Rose Bowl Stadium. "Brown is the new green. We said that a couple years ago."

It's hard to find much brown at Pasadena's Brookside Golf Course right now, but Fox says as the summer progresses and less water is used, signs of the drought will appear. Though he says the goal is to keep the dried out areas out of bounds and off the fairways and greens.

According to Pasadena Water and Power, golf courses are required to either cut their water usage by 15% or find alternate ways to make up that difference.

Jeffrey Kightlinger, PWP's interim general manager, says 15% of a golf course's water is a sizable amount.

Water use is measured in what is called acre feet. One acre foot is the equivalent of a football field filled with water, one-foot deep. Kightlinger says that's enough water for three average households for a year, but just a fraction of what a golf course uses.

"Golf courses use hundreds, sometimes thousands of acre feet," he told Eyewitness News.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, golf courses fall in a category responsible for using 9% of all the state's water.

Fox says Brookside has already turned off watering to certain parts of the course that shouldn't affect play and are using new technology and procedures to scale back water usage throughout the property.

"We're going to be able to use some advanced maintenance agronomy practices," said Fox. "Through that I think you'll see surprisingly better course conditions even as the drought worsens."

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