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Keeping It Green: Audits Prevent Overkill

It’s the right time of year to perform an irrigation audit of your golf course. An audit gives you a baseline of your system and shows it strengths and weaknesses. It may be that parts are failing and need replacing, or they may simply need an adjustment.

Performing Under Pressure

For example, the pressure may be off; this can be due to the incorrect pipe size, an undersized pump, an older failing set of rotors and nozzles, or the controls being programmed incorrectly. If the controls are not programmed correctly you may have a lot of water pressure in the beginning, but lacking pressure at the end of a timed schedule. There is only so much water available; the pump and piping can only run a certain number of heads.

The equipment that is most likely in need of replacement include rotors, nozzles, and pumps. If you still use rotors from the 90s, those typically are overkill and super inefficient. There was a trend to overwater in the nineties, but we have learned that is bad for the grass; it causes a weakened root structure and increases pests and fungus. Irrigation products have become much more efficient, where a system could reach 40% efficiency in in 1995, it can now reach 90% distribution uniformity.

Timing Is Everything

Simply replacing rotors and nozzles is not enough. It is important to verify the timing on the controls. Adjusting timing can make your irrigation twice as efficient: it will cut down the amount of time irrigating and the delivery itself is more efficient. Better irrigation results in better root structure which lessens the chance of your grass dying and lessens the need for pesticides and fungicides.

Working Together

An irrigation audit will show where your system needs improvement. The audit is the first step in your plan for upgrades. You can start with what fits the budget, or we can sit down and create a budget together with you. Once you make the adjustments and improvements you will have a better playing, healthier turf on the course.

Some superintendents are intimidated by the idea of doing an irrigation audit and will wait for someone else who can do it with them. Contact us when you are ready to prevent overkill and start saving.  

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