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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Modern rotors, such as the Rain Bird 751 pictured here, are designed to combine full- and part-circle settings. Photo courtesy of Rain Bird "When we improve the uniformity, particularly with a limited amount of water, it's like fnding additional water for the course." — Bob Dobson in conjunction with the GCSAA, is the Certifed Golf Course Irrigation Auditor program. An audit evaluates how uniformly the irrigation system applies water. It's a great tool for selling a membership or greens committee on a new system or an upgrade of the existing system, a great way to document distribution uniformity." He adds, "My frm is working with a golf course that has a limited water allocation. We're going out on the greens and fairways and doing an irrigation audit with the old equipment in place. Then we'll go back and install new sprinkler heads with high-effciency nozzles and do an audit. We can document the improvement in uniformity between the old and new equipment. When we improve the uniformity, particularly with a limited amount of water, it's like fnding additional water for the course. With the focus on water issues today, I believe every golf course should have an employee who is a Certifed Golf Irrigation Auditor." Hunter's Dunn outlines the steps of how to evaluate where the golf course is now in its irrigation effciency. • Pump station audit. Pump station audits will determine pump station effciency, power effciency and physical condition of the system. • Sprinkler water audit. A catch-can test will help you determine your system's distribution uniformity and/or scheduling coeffcient. The information derived can be directly related to irrigation effciency. • Sprinkler physical audit. A physical sprinkler audit ensures every sprinkler has the proper nozzle. It looks out for level heads, weeping heads, obstructed heads — anything that impedes the performance of the sprinklers. • Maintenance records. Records kept for things like replacement parts for the system, pipe breaks, work-hours spent hand watering, hours spent troubleshooting, even hours of overtime paid, are very useful. "Those records represent the maintenance cost of your system. This is important because most superintendents do a great job of keeping the course looking good in spite of having an old worn-out system. The person who must be convinced to spend money on the system thinks the course looks great and has no idea how much extra effort is required to keep it that way," Dunn says. He adds, "Finally, all the information you have gathered needs to be expressed in dollars. For instance, the hours spent hand watering multiplied by the hourly rate of the person doing the water equals lost dollars. A distribution uniformity of 50 percent can be turned into a calculation of lost irrigation effciency and dollar savings. Using the estimated gains in effciency, and the gallons of water historically used per year, you can calculate the amount of water and dollars spent on wasted water each year. Once everything is converted to dollars lost per year, it is a simple matter to determine the amount of time it will take to 'pay' for the new irrigation system upgrade with the savings realized by those upgrades," Dunn says. In the future, Lonn says he feels that as irrigation technology innovations increase, the golf course industry will continue to be even more effcient in water use. "Where we need to get to is that we only use water when we know we need to," Lonn says. "Not because we think we need to, but when we know we need to." GCM Stacie Zinn Roberts is the president of What's Your Avacado?, a writing and marketing firm based in Mount Vernon, Wash. 68 GCM June 2013

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