Jeff Jensen Southwest Headshot
Jeff Jensen
Southwest regional representative

Prior to joining the GCSAA staff, Jeff spent more than a decade in the golf industry in management and marketing. He resides in Henderson, Nev.
Tel. 800-472-7878, ext. 3603.

Field staff report

Coachella Valley Golf and Water Summit focuses on water conservation and Colorado River allocations

by Jeff Jensen | Jan 22, 2023

Summit held at Mission Hills Country Club attracts nearly 175 allied golf industry representatives and water regulators

The Hi-Lo Desert GCSA, Coachella Valley Water District, Southern California Golf Association, Southern California PGA and the USGA Green Section hosted the Coachella Valley Golf and Water Summit on January 11 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA. 

The summit was attended by nearly 175 allied golf industry representatives including golf course superintendents, PGA Professionals, general managers, and club members as well as water regulators from the Coachella Valley. 

Guests were treated to a great slate of speakers including Dr. Jim Baird from the University of California Riverside; Dr. Robert Cheng, Assistant Director of the Coachella Valley Water District; Peter Nelson, Coachella Valley Water District Board Member; Dr. Matteo Serena of the USGA Green Section and Brian Whitlark, USGA West Region Agronomist. 

Dr. Baird discussed his research efforts at Riverside with a focus on the breeding program that is developing warm season grasses that are more drought tolerant and retain winter color on limited levels.  Two of these varieties, UCR 17-8 and UCR TP6-3 will be commercially released in limited availabilities starting in 2024. 

Dr. Cheng and Nelson did a joint presentation that focused on the current water situation in the Coachella Valley including potential cuts to Colorado River allocations that would have an impact on courses using the raw water from the river.  The seven basin states have until Jan. 31 to come to a voluntary agreement, or the Bureau of Reclamation has said they will step in to enforce mandatory cutbacks on the system in both the upper and lower basins.  Additionally, rebate programs through the CVWD (using Inflation Reduction Act funds) were discussed and courses were able to set-up meetings with the district to further discuss turf removal projects as well as other conservation minded projects. 

Whitlark and Dr. Serena discussed numerous water savings measures including warm season turf conversions, upgrades to irrigation systems, turfgrass removal, reductions to overseeding, use of wetting agents and sub surface drip irrigation on tee boxes. 

The summit was the third to be held in California the past five months.  Previous events were held at Los Serranos Golf Club in Chino Hills and Boundary Oak Golf Course in Walnut Creek. 

A special thanks goes out to all of the sponsoring organizations for their financial support as well as Hi-Lo Desert Executive Director Molly DuVall who organized the summit and the staff at Mission Hills Country Club for their incredible hospitality.  



  • Madeline M Francis, Class C, Carefree
  • Charlie W Pense, Class C, Scottsdale


  • Jonathan H Briggs, Class S, San Luis Obispo
  • Simon Oliver, Class C, Newport Coast


  • Clay S McKinley, formerly (A) at The Club at Las Campanas, is now (A) at Pueblo Del Sol Country Club in Sierra Vista


  • Christopher Bien, formerly (B) at PGA West Greg Norman Course, is now (B) at PGA West Private Golf Courses in La Quinta
  • Gary A Bley, formerly (C) at Pauma Valley Country Club, is now (C) at The Grand Golf Club in San Diego
  • Cavin Brown, formerly (A) at Seascape Golf Club, is now (A) at Saratoga Country Club in Saratoga
  • Javier Campos, formerly (C) at California Golf Club of San Francisco, is now (B) at California Golf Club of San Francisco in South San Francisco
  • Jason M Decker, formerly (SW) at Michigan State University, is now (SW) at Shady Canyon Golf Club in Irvine
  • David T Gutierrez, formerly (C) at El Camino Country Club, is now (C) at Dad Miller Golf Course in Anaheim
  • Brynly C Marsh, formerly (B) at Maroon Creek Club, is now (B) at Vineyard at Escondido in Escondido
  • Sean O'Brien CGCS, formerly (A) at Hawk's Landing Golf Club, is now (A) at Target Speciality Products in San Marcos
  • John J Oles, formerly (AS) at Morro Bay Golf Course, is now (AS) at Dairy Creek Golf Course in San Luis Obispo
  • Timothy Phelan, formerly (C) at Maroon Creek Club, is now (C) at South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla
  • Geoffery Plovanich, formerly (B) at The Olympic Club, is now (B) at City & County of San Francisco in San Francisco
  • Roger Robarge CGCS, formerly (A) at California Golf Club of San Francisco, is now (A) at Valley Club of Montecito in Santa Barbara
  • Ryan Zuehlsdorf, formerly (A) at Monarch Bay Golf Club, is now (A) at Oakhurst Country Club in Clayton

Upcoming events

Upcoming events in the region. This is not necessarily a comprehensive list. If you have an addition to make, please reach out.

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Southwest2017This region includes Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.