5 Things Every Golfer Should Know About Water on the Course August 7, 2017 | FAR HILLS, N.J. By USGA Green Section Staff

Watering with precision helps optimize playing conditions and saves water. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

Golf course superintendents work hard to conserve water while providing high-quality playing conditions. Here are five things every golfer should know about water use on golf courses:

Golf course superintendents apply water to promote healthy turf, not to attain a desired color. (USGA/Steve Boyle)

1. Irrigation should be applied for turf health, not color.

Irrigation should be applied to promote healthy turf that can tolerate stress and provide desirable playing conditions. Irrigating to attain a desired color is not recommended and wastes valuable water. Furthermore, unnecessary irrigation leads to increased disease, extra mowing and soft playing conditions.

Using recycled water can help golf courses improve their long-term economic and environmental sustainability. (USGA/George Waters)

2. Water applied to a golf course is not necessarily drinking water.

Only a small percentage of golf facilities use municipal drinking water for irrigation. A recent USGA-funded survey found that fewer than 10 percent of the nearly 2,000 golf facilities that responded use municipal drinking water for irrigation.

USGA funding helped develop Latitude 36 bermudagrass, which is being used at golf courses like Mount Vernon Country Club to save water and improve playing conditions. (USGA/Steve Boyle)

3. Different grasses have different water requirements.

There are numerous grass species used on golf courses and the amount of water they require to remain healthy varies. Utilizing drought-tolerant grasses helps golf facilities conserve significant amounts of water. The USGA is a longtime supporter of research efforts to develop grasses that require less water while providing quality playing conditions.

New technology can map areas of a golf course based on moisture content. This information helps ensure that water only goes where it is needed. (USGA/George Waters)

4. Irrigation systems are highly sophisticated and constantly improving.

A typical golf course irrigation system is likely to have more than 1,000 sprinkler heads with precisely engineered nozzles, a vast network of underground pipes and wires, a powerful pumping station and a computerized control system that enables superintendents to apply water with extreme precision. Modern irrigation systems also utilize real-time data from weather stations and soil moisture sensors to help superintendents determine water needs on a golf course.

5. Water use is an issue in all parts of the country.

Concerns about water use are not limited to areas that receive less rainfall. Golf courses in areas that normally receive ample rainfall may not have adequate water storage to withstand even short periods of drought. Water regulations are also an important consideration; areas with ample rainfall may still be subject to strict controls on water use.

The USGA is committed to improving resource management through research, education and outreach. Water is a precious resource, and the USGA is working hard to help golf courses conserve. For more information, visit the USGA Water Resource Center.


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