Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Managing Water in Drought Conditions

Water management for golf course turf varies when you consider what soil and turf type is present in each area.  At Wakonda Club, my two assistants (Jim and Shawn) and I are constantly monitoring weather patterns, soil types, and turf needs to apply water when needed.

Below you will find some interesting facts on how we create a beautiful golf course, even when mother nature is not cooperating.

  •  Greens - Our new A1/A4 greens are very heat and moisture tolerant, meaning they hold up exceptionally well in dry/hot weather.
  • Tees - Our tees are built on a sand base so they drain really well; therefore, requiring more water than the fairways and greens.
  • Fairways - We have a nice stand of Penn Eagle II/Penn Links II bentgrass with some Poa annua mixed in. "Poa" is a shallow rooted plant that cannot withstand high temperatures and no rain. So, to keep this plant alive during hot, dry conditions, we water more frequently, resulting in softer fairways at times - especially in the valleys.
  • This season we are monitoring turf moisture with the help of the TDR 300 moisture meter - this device gives us a volumetric moisture reading in the soil. We use this data to set up the irrigation system each night.
  • The irrigation system is run by a series of computer programs that control over 800 irrigation heads on the golf course. Each head is set to run different, for example, the hills receive more water than the valleys. This system is very sophisticated, but not perfect.
  • This year we have implemented the use of soil wetting agents on tees and fairways. This product helps the soil absorb moisture more evenly and has helped us produce better playing conditions.
  • To date, we are using 60,000 gallons less water/day compared to last year under similar environmental conditions. 
#1 Fairway 2012

#1 Fairway 2013