Golf Course Management

JUN 2013

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

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for delivery of water, and of course, more recently, the impact of the Internet on remote control of those systems. But more than that, technological advances offer superintendents increased accuracy in irrigation, as well as savings in water, time and money, with better playing conditions and healthier turf as the end result. Top: Technology helps Mason avoid overwatering at Sky Valley CC. Bottom: Dana Lonn, director of The Toro Co.'s Center for Advanced Turf Technology. 62 GCM June 2013 Taking control At Sky Valley, the use of a central control system designed by Hunter Industries helps with turf quality. "We're able to control the amount of the water we want on the golf course, where we want it," Mason says. "We're able to keep healthy grass by not overwatering, and we can also run the control off of evapotranspiration (ET). It will tell you exactly how much water to put out given the current weather environment. We work off of a local weather station that helps us to calculate ET." Calculating just how much water is needed, rather than going by gut instinct, helps save water. "Upgrades to central control have been known to reduce water consumption by 35 percent or more," says Rich Dunn, product manager for Hunter Industries. The systems keep getting smarter, offering more information for superintendents to make better, more accurate and specifc choices of what and where to irrigate. Bob Dobson is president of the Irrigation Association, a national industry trade organization, and is the owner of Middletown Sprinkler Co., an irrigation installation company based in Port Monmouth, N.J. "The beauty of central control," Dobson says, "is it's possible to have separate control on all 1,500 sprinkler heads on a golf course. So you can run one head for six minutes, and the one right next to it you can run for four minutes. That's the type of control that you have that allows you to fne-tune your system. When you fne-tune the system, you can reduce the wet spots, reduce the dry spots and reduce those areas that are going to require hand watering as we go into longer periods of the year." With Wi-Fi, mobile apps, tablet computers, smartphones and the Internet, it's no longer necessary to be sitting in the superintendent's offce to run the irrigation by central control. "Cloud- or Internet-based control systems are an evolving segment. These systems are

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