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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cessed from the exposed surface without disturbing the surrounding turf. This is a huge beneft to the superintendent and club management who can count on the fact that any future repair job can be done without affecting the aesthetic appeal of the course or the playability for the golfer. This feature is also a money-saver since any component repair is basically a fve-minute operation," Dunn says. Mason uses the TTS rotors at Sky Valley. "With the Hunter heads that are out now, they are all top serviceable," he explains. "Once you install the head in the ground, you no longer have to dig it up unless you're replacing it. So if you're fxing a solenoid or a pilot valve, everything is top serviceable. It makes life a lot easier when you don't have to dig in the mud and change things out. You unscrew two screws and a cap and the guts are basically inside the head." New rotor designs allow superintendents to service them quickly, without having to dig them out. Pictured are Hunter's TTS rotors. Photo courtesy of Hunter Having less wire out on the course, as little as 10 percent, of conventional systems, means less chance of cutting a wire and fewer chances for sustaining damage due to lightning strikes. Sensing the situation Moisture sensors have evolved past just measuring moisture in the soil. The latest versions have the ability to also measure soil salinity and soil temperature. "They're innovative because they can provide information as to what is happening in the plant root zone, the degree of salinity, soil temperature and moisture content, information that wasn't readily available in the past," Dobson says. Lonn agrees. "Irrigation effciency is all about making water available for the plants, but you don't know how much water is in the soil without measuring it," he says. "It's exactly like a fuel gauge in a car. If you don't have a fuel gauge, you don't know how much gas is in the car. If you don't have a moisture sensor, you don't know how much moisture you've got." It's no secret that there are some doubts in the industry about the accuracy of moisture sensors. Issues such as variability of soil conditions, microclimates, slopes and the like have made moisture sensors an issue of debate. "Historically sensors have not been very reliable but that problem is behind us," Lonn says. "We've fgured out how to make them reliable. I would rather have one soil moisture sensor than a weather station. I could make better decisions with one soil moisture sensor than with a weather station." Two for the money Conventional central control irrigation systems have satellite control boxes that are housed out on the golf course. New two-wire systems eliminate the need for control boxes on the course. "With conventional satellite controllers, it's not uncommon to have 1.5 million to 2 million feet of control wire running throughout a golf course," Dobson says. "With a two-wire system you do away with the satellite controllers. A pair of wires runs from the central controller to every sprinkler head or decoder on the course and 2 million feet of wire is reduced to 100,000 or a 150,000 feet of wire." Having less wire out on the course, as little as 10 percent, of conventional systems, means less chance of cutting a wire and fewer chances for sustaining damage due to lightning strikes. In areas prone to vandalism, no satellite box on the course means that's one less pricey item out in the open that could be tampered with. And in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which directly impacted Dobson and many of his golf course clients, no satellite boxes on the course lessens the chances of food damage to the control system. How to get started "Understanding your options in system upgrades and enhancing irrigation effciency starts with an analysis of your overall system," says Hunter Industries' Dunn. "This should include an evaluation of the age and condition of all major system components. An audit of how effciently (or not) your current rotors apply water is a must. This audit needs to be conducted by a qualifed auditor who has been certifed by the Irrigation Association with a Certifed Golf Irrigation Auditor accreditation." Dobson expands on that thought, saying, "One of the programs the IA has developed, 66 GCM June 2013

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