Australia might be the lucky country, but it’s also a country currently in an environmental crisis. Whilst on average, we aussies see a severe drought once every 18 years, with records spanning back to the federation drought of 1902-1903, the current drought, which started in 2017, is surpassing anything on record. We are currently in a 36 month ‘run’ of above average temperatures, and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has stated there’s little likelihood of reprieve for drought affected areas this year.
It is little wonder every Australian is being asked to reduce their water consumption, and large consumers of water, such as sporting fields, council parks and golf courses are constantly looking for ways to reduce water usage. Thankfully with the assistance of groups such as the Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association maintaining a waterwise gold course is not only achievable, it makes good business sense.
Our team at TGI are experts in Golf course management and we’ve put together some top tips for running a waterwise golf course.
This may sound obvious, however more than 40% of Golf courses do not have a Water Management Plan and the first step to such a plan is to conduct an Audit. Even if your golf course current has a plan, it’s industry best practice to still conduct Audits to ensure the Plan is working.
The following Questions may assist your review
Review the irrigation scheduling in terms of the amount of water applied and the frequency of application.
Create some ‘trigger’ points around the available water volume at which point the application of water is prioritised to particular turf areas and/or reduced. The process of reducing water is better undertaken as a gradual process rather than stopping the application of water when the available water supply is at a critical level and placing the turf into sudden drought shock. This gradual reduction allows the turf to adjust or adapt to the reduced amount of available water.
Conduct a complete water analysis during summer with follow up tests every month. Summer heats can increase salinity, and other mineral levels.
Undertake an internal audit/check of the operation of the irrigation system to make sure there are minimal losses through leaks and poorly operating sprinklers.
Know your Turf, couch and other warm-season grasses have excellent drought tolerance and can survive a dry summer with only a few deep irrigation’s. The important part of this strategy is deep watering. Very few warm-season grass sports turf areas are irrigated to the depth of the rootzone.
Communicate your water use strategy and the short- and long-term implications of managing turf during extended dry periods.
When rainfall is predicted, look to undertake surface aeration and put out a wetting agent to optimise water penetration.
Look to Government funding. Many golf courses have been able to gain Government grants for water conversation programs.
Effective water conservation strategies have the potential of reducing water consumption on golf courses by over 20%, if you take into account an American study that showed water costs to golf courses can be up to $107,000 per year, an your water management program may save your golf course over $20,000 per year.
At TGI Australia, we have over 20 years’ experience in industry. We’re a family-owned business located in South East QLD. If you are interested in more ways to save water of your golf course, feel free to contact us at 07 3245 2222.