With the dramatic changes in climate across the Region caused by planetary development issues, Golf Course Owners, Managers and Superintendents would be wise to take a serious look at how they are managing their water resources. Knowledge of the data relevant for water management at their facilities will go a long way towards protecting their golf course asset from regulation by government agencies during times of drought.

The art and science of irrigation (defined by Webster's as “to water by means of canals, lakes or ditches through pipes and / or sprinklers” ) is constantly evolving to handle these challenges through increased research and state-of-the art irrigation systems. However, in certain areas of Southeast Asia where water is still a cheap and readily available resource, over-watering occurs all too often. Golf course turfgrass, especially greens grass, is often damaged by an excessive amount of water, in fact more so than by drought stress.

Golfers themselves sometimes add to the confusion of the management's decision as to how much water should be applied due to their demand for “soft”, holding greens. By contrast, the European and US Touring Professionals would rather have firmer, dry greens which separate the true ball-strikers from the ‘power players'. The PGA European Tour's guidelines state that “a good green will be firm - not hard - and will accept a well struck iron shot and reject a poorly struck approach shot or a shot played from the rough” .

Under hot weather conditions, there is often a tendency to apply more, rather than less, water so as to be sure that drought stress does not occur. This can promote soft conditions and places additional stress on the turf. When turfgrass is over-watered, soil pore space that is normally filled with air is then filled with water, and root decline can occur due to a lack of oxygen. Roots do not grow deeper in search of water. By contrast, soils that have adequate moisture and oxygen levels promote deeper root development and more root mass. Water also conducts heat, dangerously increasing soil temperatures under hot, saturated conditions.

Fine turf performs better when efforts are made to promote and maintain drier conditions.

Ways to assess the watering needs for turfgrass vary from high tech computers and evapo-transpiration devices to simple visual assessments of the water and moisture status of both the turf and the soil by foot-printing techniques and through the visible wilting of grass leaves. If you simply step on the green or turf area being checked and the turf does not have enough moisture in the leaf for it to bounce back or recover, instead it leaves a stressed looking footprint on the turf, then the turf lacks water. Soil moisture should be checked with a soil probe to a 6-8 inch depth. By experience, the Golf Course Superintendent should identify these indicator sites where turfgrass water stress first occurs.

Application of water to a turf area should be determined by the Superintendent based on (a) environmental conditions such as rainfall, sunlight and / or cloudy or shaded conditions, (b) replacing water that was utilized by the turf in the root zone, and (c) watering in fertilizers and / or insecticides.

The appropriate level of water to apply should be equivalent to that removed from the soil since the last irrigation or rainfall. The actual amount of water applied also depends on the water retention characteristics of the soil.

When and how much to irrigate is one of the most difficult decisions in golf course turfgrass culture. Unfortunately, irrigation practices and systems are too often misunderstood and misused. Many golfers tend to rate the golf course conditions on how green and lush the turf is and a green colour is expected at all times. However, such a green turf is not the most healthy or playable.

Water is one of the planet's most precious resources. Both golfers and Club Management should make a concerted effort to learn how to understand and manage it for the greater good of all areas involved.

©2010 QGI INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTS CO., LTD. Home   |   Profile   |   Project   |   Design & Construction   |   Products   | Contacts