Golf Course Management

MAR 2014

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

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38 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.14 Like many superintendents, Hetland worked on the facility's irrigation system, re - duced irrigation of non-play areas, and initi- ated hand watering to help ensure effciency. Initially, he estimates that they reduced water use by 5-10 percent, but he didn't stop there. They installed variable-frequency drives on the pumps and updated one pump station to improve effciency. They reduced their irriga - tion run time by four hours, which also con- serves energy. When the course added nine new holes, they implemented a wetland system that col - lects the backwash water from a nearby water tower and collect about 45 acre-feet a year for irrigation. The nine new holes do have a water well, which has the appropriate pro - tection practices in place as well. Incorporat- ing design, best management practices and technology has helped with water manage - ment at the facility. Hetland implemented a drought contin - gency plan, which he later supplemented with the Iowa GCSA's drought plan. This drought plan was a cooperative effort between the Iowa GCSA and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Water Supply Division. This three-stage restriction plan is ready and in place when necessary. These efforts, as well as others (like those undertaken by the Georgia GCSA), demon - strate how being proactive can help facilities even before they are faced with drought or water restrictions. Facilities that demonstrate and communicate their efforts and commit - ment do help the golf course industry as well as themselves. The value of these efforts may have an economic return on investment as well as a long-term return for the image of the game. Mark Johnson is GCSAA's associate director, environmen- tal programs. Mark Johnson mjohnson@gcsaa.org (environment) It's March, and for some organizations and individuals, there is a major focus on water because National Groundwater Aware - ness Week is the 9th through 15th and World Water Day is the 22nd. These events are im - portant because they promote awareness, con- servation and water-quality protection. We know that many golf course superintendents and others in the industry are already on point in regard to effcient and effective water man - agement. However, what do many individu- als outside our golf-centric group know about water management on golf courses? Also, should our efforts stop here or continue? Both of these events provide opportunities to demonstrate water management practices, educate stakeholders and commit to continu - ous improvement. Consider the information from the We Are Golf website in the sidebar. This message is important, and we can fur - ther demonstrate our current efforts as well as our commitment to continuous improvement. Environmental programs like the Ground - water Foundation's Groundwater Guardian Green Site Program, Audubon International, eParUSA, Golf Environment Organization and others provide the means to help docu - ment, demonstrate and communicate efforts at individual golf facilities. They provide the platform for continuous improvement. What's the value of investing time and resources in such a program? Brett Hetland, CGCS at Brooks Golf Course in Okoboji, Iowa, explains that, "a value of participating in the Groundwater Guardian Green Site Program and with Audubon International is marketing, promoting our best manage - ment practices, demonstrating environmental stewardship and documenting the work we are doing." Hetland's facility is located in the "Great Lakes Region of Iowa" where there are seven watershed groups and a constant awareness of environmental issues, especially water man - agement. Being proactive and working with watershed groups and regulatory agencies helps to achieve success. "It is better to be pro - active than reactive to regulations that will be enforced," states Hetland, a 19-year mem - ber of GCSAA. Water responsibility Among the most important issues fac- ing the future of golf is water use. In some parts of the country, courses require large amounts of water to irrigate the landscape. For several decades, the golf industry has recognized its responsibility to reduce water use and become less reliant on po- table irrigation sources. This multi-faceted approach includes development of: • New grass varieties that use less water or can tolerate poor-quality water • New technologies that improve the eff- ciency of irrigation systems • Best management practices in course maintenance that result in less water use • Alternate water sources to reduce or eliminate use of potable water • Design concepts to minimize area main- tained with grasses requiring less water • Educational programs for golf course superintendents about water conservation The real facts about golf course water use • 92 percent use wetting agents to aid in water retention and effciency • 83 percent report protection of water wells • 78 percent use hand-watering tech- niques for increased precision • 65 percent report upgrades to irrigation systems • 15 percent utilize municipal water supplies www.wearegolf.org Presented in Partnership with Aquatrols Water-conscious and responsible 038-039_March14_Envirn.indd 38 2/18/14 3:16 PM

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