Monday, December 11, 2017

Historical Look at Water Use

The season has come to a close and I now have time to organize/evaluate some of the data I collect during the golf season.  Data collection is needed in order to measure success, improvements and progress so I take it seriously.  The longer data is collected the more reliable it becomes to tell the story of your Management.  

The first set of data I evaluated this off season was water use at the club from our two pump-stations.  It is from these two water sources that we draw water to irrigate the two courses and wash our equipment.  
Mother Nature obviously plays a big part in seasonal water use but I like our historical trend as water use has been following a steady decline.  

Years of hard work with our irrigation programs along with fine tuning our individual head run times has dramatically reduced our water use.  We have identified locations on every irrigated green, tee, fairway, approach and rough that tend to hold water or tend to dry out and have adjusted preset run times accordingly.  
Many areas on both courses are now only irrigated to water in applications of wetting agents/PGR’s/fertilizer then are turned off the rest of the time.  Other areas have limited traffic (like par 3 surrounds) and have been found to require zero supplemental water from an irrigation system.  The irrigation heads are there but they are no longer needed regularly.  We leave the heads in place in case we enter a drought or an application needs to be watered in.  

Hundreds of full circle heads have been replaced with Part circle heads on the Greywalls course.  This not only reduced water use but also helped the playability of certain areas on the course because less water is now entering natural/native areas.  

We have completed a two phase improvement in the Heritage course pump-station over the last 10 years.  The first phase was a controller update and the second phase was a pump replacement. We now have more control over water pumping as 60 year old technology was replaced with present day technology.  Two pumps are now doing what three pumps did before the upgrade; the new main pump is no longer butterfly valve controlled but is now VFD controlled saving electricity while making it easy on the old pipes.  

Strategic use of wetting agents is probably the next most important aspect of water use reduction here at the Marquette Golf Club.  We apply these products with our sprayers on the greens, tees and approaches on both courses and we apply them through our irrigation system (utilizing an injector) on the Greywalls course.  Wetting agents work in several different ways to control localized dry spots.  Most allow water to penetrate and hold in hydrophobic soil conditions and eliminates the need to over irrigate.  

We still have areas of improvement that we can work on as we continue to strive towards more efficient water use.  The next big area of reduction is on the Heritage course.  A complete irrigation head evaluation needs to take place in order to identify all full circle heads that can be replaced with part circle heads; then an investment in those heads needs to be budgeted and planned.  

Saving water is saving money because the less we pump the less electricity we use and the more money we save..... and who does not like to save money!

2017 Season wrap-up

Update on the grounds end. 

We just went through the most difficult winterization I’ve ever had the pleasure of guiding.  The season ended with a flip of a switch as Snow, Midwest hurricanes and freezing temperatures made it a very interesting finish. 

Many challenges were overcome and I am glad to say all of the absolutely critical fieldwork was completed before the freezing temperatures and snow arrived for good.  

-Storm damage was cleaned up in all critical areas but most of it was just cut up or left and will be removed in the spring. 

-After closing for the season all greens were solid tine aerified to open channels for winter surface drainage.

-All fine turf surfaces (greens, apps, tees, fairways) were treated preventatively for snowmold.  We followed a blower crew with our sprayers as they cleared leaves and goose droppings. 

-Both Irrigation systems and components were winterized.  It was very cold while blowing out the Greywalls system.  An additional day of work was needed to finish up the process.

-Equipment was detail cleaned and winterized. The plow truck was repaired and prepared for a season of snow removal.  Both shops were organized and equipment in need of winter overhaul work has been lined up in the shop for easy access.  

-Greens and approaches were covered with sand for winter crown protection and they were all roped off.  Snow fence is up in our strategic locations. 

-Milorganite was applied to all putting surfaces to help spring ice/snow melt and green-up. 

-All course supplies were hauled in and off the course for winter maintenance. 

Mission accomplished!

We are set up for a successful spring of 2018…… as long as mother nature is kind to us the next 4 months. 

A Tree crushed the new bathroom on 3/4/7 of Greywalls during the 50-70 mph wind event we experienced that I like to call the Superior hurricane.  The tree has been removed and we put a tarp on the roof to prevent any further damage to the interior. 

The repairs to the bathroom will most likely be completed in the spring as winter weather has set in for good.  

I received a call from the BLP last week.  They are now offering us a seasonal shut off for our pumpstaion power supplies.  No charge to shut it off and only $25 to turn it back on in the spring.  This should save us around $3800 this winter in demand charges that we had to pay in the past. 

I have placed most of the chemical and fertilizer orders already for the 2018 season to take advantage of free shipping and discount prices included in Early Order Programs.  

The rest of our chemical/fert. Supply needs are out to bid with all of our different vendors.  Once those quotes come back I can finalize the 2018 Agronomic Plan.  Savings as much as I can for the club is always the goal. 

We had a site visit with a logger this fall.  We need to aggressively manage the trees in many locations on the golf courses.  This work needs to be planned out well ahead of time so it can be completed over the winter months to reduce disruption during the playing months.  


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