How Can Golf Courses Better Conserve Water Supplies?

SPORTS PROBLEM: How can golf courses conserve water resources better and save money? We’ve all heard the news about how the state of California is trying to deal with the historic drought that has severely affected their state. Since California is also home to many great golf courses, how are golf course supervisors addressing the many restrictions placed on them to limit water use and how can courses elsewhere better address this problem?

SMART SPORTS SOLUTION: The USGA is employing several new and innovative smart solutions to the ongoing problem of water conservation. Here are some of the new herbs developed and tested to see which ones are best suited to the different environments in which they would be used.

Improved herbs that require less water

Since 1982, the United States Golf Association has distributed more than $ 18 million through a university grant program to investigate environmental issues related to the game of golf, with a particular emphasis on developing new herbs that use less water and require less use. of pesticides. For example:

Several improved cultivars of buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), native to the American Great Plains, have been developed by turf breeders at the University of Nebraska. This grass can replace grasses that use high water on fairways and roughs in a large geographic area of ​​the Mid-West, with water savings of 50% or more.
Improved cold tolerant and seeded type bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) cultivars were developed by breeders at Oklahoma State University, allowing this stress-tolerant, water-saving herb to be established in the transition zone as a replacement for the season cold with use of high herb water. Water savings of 30% to 50% or more can be achieved. When Ruby Hill G.C. in Pleasanton, CA was built several years ago, its fairways and roughs were established for bermudagrass instead of the cold season grasses used in nearly every other Northern California course. They estimate water savings of around 40% compared to similar routes that use cold season herbs.
Turf breeders at the University of Georgia have developed improved cultivars of coastal paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum). This extremely salt tolerant weed can be irrigated with high salt or brackish water with little effect on turf quality. Cultivars are available for greens, tees, fairways and roughs, and some can be irrigated with water straight from the ocean!
Breeding work in progress on zoysiagrass (Texas A&M), saltgrass (Colorado State and Arizona State), annual bluegrass (Minnesota and Penn State University), alkaligrass (Loft’s), fairway crested wheatgrass (Utah State), colonial bentgrass (Univ. Of Rhode Island)) and a number of grass species at Rutgers University and other commercial seed companies will provide new golf grass varieties that reduce water and pesticide use for decades to

New technologies for irrigation systems

In recent years, great strides have been made to improve the efficiency of the irrigation system through the use of technology, including:

Use of sophisticated on-site weather stations, weather reporting services and other resources to determine accurate daily irrigation replacement needs, thereby reducing over-watering. Considerable effort is also underway to adapt various types of sensors to assess the soil moisture replacement needs of the turf, including tensiometers, porous blocks, heat dissipation blocks, neutron probes and infrared thermometry.
Improved irrigation uniformity through careful consideration of sprinkler head design, nozzle selection, head spacing, hose size and pressure selection. The Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) (Cal State University at Fresno, 5370 N. Chestnut, Fresno, CA 93740; phone 209-278-2066 is a leader in combining sprinkler uniformity and related turf quality requirements for Get the Most Water Savings on Golf Courses and Other Grass Areas Many golf course and individual golf course irrigation design companies routinely use CIT services to reduce golf course water and energy consumption.
Using state-of-the-art computer control systems, portable handheld controllers and variable frequency pumping systems to apply water in the most efficient way to reduce water and energy consumption.
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