Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hand Watering

Throughout the summer I have been asked several times “why are you still hand watering after installing a new irrigation system?” The biggest misconception with the installation of a new irrigation is that coverage will be perfect and no hand watering will ever be needed.

The new system that was installed is extremely sophisticated and highly efficient, that being said there is no such thing as perfection. Our coverage is far superior to most courses in the metro area and even with that there still will be times that we have to “touch up” areas on the golf course with hoses. Some of the factors that cause hot spots are; soil compaction, slope, exposure, wind and even thatch. All of the factors combined on a course with terrain and exposure issues like CCCP create many opportunities for hand watering.

Now that we have the ability to water the fairways separately from the rough we can create fast and firm conditions in the fairways. This is where the use of hand watering is key, because as hot spots show up in the fairways we can target these areas only with additional water. Sure it is easy to turn on a sprinkler head that has a 55’ radius to water a hot spot that is only 5 square feet, but from an agronomic and playability stand point that is the wrong choice.

After the new system was completed, I began tracking my water usage through the entire golf course and it has shown some impressive numbers. For the last two months I have used an average of 40% less water in the fairways than the rough. These numbers confirm what I have been saying about Bentgrass fairways all along, that they need less water than the surrounding Bluegrass rough. It has now become common to see drives hit in the fairway and roll out 30 to 50 yard from initial ball contact.