Golf Course Management

JUL 2019

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 47 of 139

46 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.19 Although TDR-type moisture meters aren't as new as most of the other items that will be presented in future "What the tech?" articles, they remain extremely impactful. Many facilities have not yet invested in the technology — presumably because of the high upfront cost — but it is nevertheless rare to find a golf course superintendent who has buyer's remorse from purchasing a meter. It is more common for a facility to invest in a sec- ond and third meter once their value becomes apparent. In addition to managing root-zone water, moisture meters are useful in trouble- shooting drainage issues, evaluating wetting agent efficacy, conducting an irrigation audit or even assessing bunker conditions. Moving forward with this column, we wel- come input and suggestions from the readers of GCM. We regularly get great ideas for new items to present in Gadgets and Gizmos from superintendents in the audience. If anyone has discovered a new or unusual gadget or phone app that is valuable in managing their golf course, please shoot us a brief description in a direct message on Twitter to @ArkansasTurf. Doug Karcher ( is a turfgrass soil spe- cialist and professor, Mike Richardson is a professor, and Daniel O'Brien is a program technician in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. ideal for most turf situations, as this depth corresponds to where 90% of your root mass resides, even if you have some roots growing out the bottom of your cup cutter sample. If you are working with a compromised root sys- tem — for example, Poa annua in August — a shorter 1.5-inch rod may be warranted. It's important to remember two key items related to rod length. First, whenever you use a new rod length — or even a new meter — you must recalibrate to determine the ideal water content range that will correspond to good playability and turf health. Organic matter content changes with root-zone depth and, therefore, so does the relationship between water content and water potential. Second, you should not attempt to mea- sure a shallow root-zone depth with a long rod by inserting only a portion of the rod into the surface. 'e meter will measure along the en- tire length of the rod, including any portion that is above the putting surface. 'erefore, readings will be erroneously low and fluctu- ate greatly with changes in humidity near the putting surface. We recently discovered that it's possible to accurately measure putting green moisture content at shallow depths (0.5 or 1.0 inch) by using an adapter block to pro- tect exposed rods and ensure consistent mea- surement depth and by also applying a correc- tion equation to meter values. 'ese findings have been commercialized and are available as an add-on to the TDR 350 model (Spectrum Technologies). The gadgets and gizmos that are highlighted in the GIS session of that name figure to be featured in upcoming "What the tech?" features in GCM. Photo by Scott Hollister

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