Governor Jerry Brown's new water mandate affects local golf courses, Fresno State

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Governor Jerry Brown's new water restrictions mean big changes at local golf courses. Airways Golf Course will be working to follow the new requirements but some are worried it will change the sport here in California.

Under Governor Brown's unprecedented new water restriction mandate, 50 million square feet of California's lawns will be swapped with drought-tolerant landscaping. Golf courses will be required to make significant cuts in water usage or 25%. For Airways Golf Course, that means changing the look of its 90 acres. General Manager Rick Fansler says the impact will be huge.

Fansler said, "You're going to have to cut off water to the non-strategic areas of the golf course, just keep some landing areas green."

The greens at the Airways Golf Course will need to stay green since they cost $60,000 each to replace. Fansler says since Airways is the only golf course in the area that runs off the city's water main and not a well, it already abides by Fresno's mandated twice-a-week watering guidelines. Fansler says he'll likely change up the course's 800 sprinklers.

Fansler explained, "We'll have to turn off about 200 of them and that will get us to a quick 25% but we'll turn off the heads that are in the non-strategic areas where people, typically, if you hit a good shot, you're not going to be there anyway."

For golf, where aesthetics can be everything, Fansler hopes drought conditions and the new water mandate won't hurt the sport.

Fansler added, "That's one of the reasons people play golf is to be in a nice environment and so sure, absolutely worried about that."

The governor's new water reduction requirements will also impact Fresno State, where green lawns are aplenty. Administrators are already proud of its 20% slash in water usage and they're in the process of replacing all irrigation materials to water efficient ones.

Art Gonzalez, with Fresno State Plant Operations, said, "I think with the changes that we're making we're at about 20% now. I think we'll be able to do the 25% and maybe a little better."

Gonzalez says the university will likely try and take advantage of the temporary rebates the governor is offering, to replace outdated water appliances with water efficient ones. Fresno State says it is also looking into ripping up some of the campus' sod with rocks and drought tolerant landscaping.

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