Golf Course Management

AUG 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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40 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 Most irrigation systems found in the golf course industry, whether from Toro, Rain Bird, Hunter or others, will allow for remote access. As long as you have some sort of central control system and Internet access at the irriga - tion computer, you should be set. And whether you're in the feld or eating dinner at home, you can access your irrigation computer from any smartphone, tablet or home computer. I have found this remote access to be ex - tremely useful, and it can be used to access many common features on your irrigation sys - tem. You can turn individual heads on or off. You can turn the rain-hold function on and off. If you have soil moisture sensors, you can mon - itor moisture levels, salts and the temperatures of your greens, tees and fairways. On more than one occasion, I've turned the system off from home or simply logged in to make sure settings were the way I wanted them. Taking fve minutes of time to put your mind at ease for the rest of the day is time well spent, in my opinion. At Rolling Hills, we have a Toro Site Pro system that uses a program provided by Toro called NSN, but many of the features avail - able there can be found through any Internet- accessible central control system. GoToMyPC is used to connect remotely with NSN. NSN is provided free of charge with membership, but can be purchased as a stand-alone product through many providers, which is something I cover in a short video available on GCM's blog ( ). Some free mobile apps offer similar features, as well, but these require a great deal more setup and have not proved as reliable as some of the paid programs, in my experience. At the end of the half-hour setup process, you will have the ability to access your offce irrigation computer from almost anywhere at any time as though you were sitting in front of it. I must note, though, this functionality is limited by the device you are using. A smart - phone is limited by the screen size and key- board. A tablet is a bit easier, while a home computer offers an experience almost identical to the one you enjoy while sitting in the offce. Whatever service you choose or device you choose to access it from, I have found this I have found this remote access to be extremely useful, and it can be used to access many common features on your irrigation system. (technology) Bob Vaughey, CGCS Twitter: @rollinghillsgcm remote access saves a tremendous amount of time, provides you with real-time information from the feld and gives you the ability to mon - itor the weather, soil conditions or anything else that may be tied in to your irrigation com - puter. In essence, this allows you the ability to take your irrigation computer and all its infor - mation with you wherever you may be. In the video mentioned above, I discuss how to set up remote access to your irrigation computer. I also discuss some of the good and bad of these features. For example, I spent days convinced that control from my iPad out in the feld would drastically change the way we made adjustments to the system. From differ - ences between touch-screen control and using a mouse with the irrigation computer itself, as well as the lag time created by relying on our wireless service, this proved to require more work than it was worth. Many other tasks related to our irrigation system are still handled through our offce ir - rigation computer. But our department still uses many key features of remote access. One in particular proved to be a job-saver last year. Our irrigation was set to start one evening at 9 p.m., which would have been a problem after I received a call from my general manager informing me of a kids' camping night that was taking place on the 16th fairway. While I calmly informed him it wasn't going to be an issue, I reached for my smartphone so I could turn on the rain-hold feature until I could make broader adjustments to our scheduled run times. Remote access provides many advantages and a few diffculties. For the cost and ease of setup, however, I feel every superintendent should at least have it as an option and eval - uate it. Bob Vaughey, CGCS, is the director of agronomy at Rolling Hills Country Club in Palos Verdes, Calif., and a 10-year GCSAA member. Irrigation access on the go

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