Golf Course Management

FEB 2017

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

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56 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.17 Broken Sound enlists several other strategies to ensure the most sensible use of water, including yearly course mapping and irrigation audits to assess wet/dry spots, monthly irrigation head inspection, daily use of moisture meters, sensors that shut down the two courses' irrigation systems following a half-inch of rain, and sophisticated controls that automatically adjust sprinklers based on evapotranspiration. The Club Course also features an extremely efficient pump station with three variable-frequency drive (VFD) motors, which has slashed the course's power costs by 42 percent. (An identical station will be in - stalled for the Old Course in the next few years.) Easter, whose team consists of 46 employees who keep the courses pristine for year- round play, says educating the club's membership about environmentally beneficial modi - fications around the property has been an important part of his work. A prime example? The steady addition of numerous acres of wildflowers. "There are times when the flowers don't look quite as beautiful, but the bees and butterflies are still foraging and using them for shelter, so they're an important part of the ecosystem," Easter says. "We want to help members understand that." Through such communication, which includes meetings just for members to chat with Easter, the superintendent says Broken Sound's clientele has be - come equally invested in its mission of utmost environmental responsibility. As for the ecosystem-enriching accomplishment he's most proud of, Easter points to Broken Sound's 22 beehives (which also took some convincing to launch, assuring mem - bers they wouldn't get stung). While the resident honey bees produce sweet rewards in the form of more than 1,500 gallons of their golden elixir each year, Easter says he has drawn satisfaction simply from seeing the setup thrive throughout the past four years — a first - hand counter to the notion that pollinators and golf courses can't coexist. (And, to date, no members have been stung.) Among initiatives in the works at Broken Sound are assisting with the conservation of the endangered Florida bonneted bat, and installing five wind turbines that will provide all power for the restrooms on the Club Course as well as partially tackle the electricity needs of that course's maintenance facility. Easter says his tenacity for pursuing new and ambi - tious environmental endeavors is born of both a deep-rooted love for the outdoors and a personal desire to combat the misperceptions many people have regarding golf 's impact on the environment. "I'm determined to prove people wrong," Easter says. "I want to prove that golf courses can actually be the most environmentally friendly areas." A live oak looms against the sunrise on the 10th hole of the Old Course at Broken Sound CC. Each of the club's two 18-hole courses is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Alex Stuedemann TPC Deere Run Silvis, Ill. National Public winner For Alex Stuedemann, director of golf course maintenance operations at TPC Deere Run, solid environmental steward - ship doesn't just lie in the details, but in the scrupulous, ongoing analysis of those details. While meticulous observation and the abil - ity to make swift adjustments are essential tools in any turf manager's kit, the peculiar conditions at Stuedemann's home turf — located in the city of Silvis, Ill., part of the Quad Cities metropolitan area in northwest - ern Illinois and southeastern Iowa — render such know-how all the more imperative. "It can be sunny and 80 degrees on the Iowa side while there's a severe thun - derstorm and 3 inches of rain on the golf course," says Stuedemann. "The microcli - mates we have throughout the course itself are another big challenge, because we can't have one set of plays that we go out with every day. We do a lot of forecasting, and we have to be flexible." Indeed, anything resembling a "one-size- fits-all" or "set-it-and-forget-it" approach simply won't fly at the 18-hole TPC Deere Run, and the resultant vigilant monitoring produces insights that allow for exception - ally prudent use of water, pesticides and

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