This is Part 3 of a three-part series that focuses on various aspects of smart irrigation for golf courses.
The uniformity and efficiency of most irrigation systems looks pretty good until about July or August when hot, dry weather exposes any weaknesses.
That tends to be when dry spots start showing up, and the normal “10 minutes per station” gets adjusted to cover any brown spots.
Aside from just covering up the brown spots, a focus on uniformity and efficiency plays a huge role in conserving water resources while utilizing smart irrigation.
Uniformity is generally dependent on the performance of the irrigation equipment along with the design and installation of the irrigation system.
Advancements in the design and engineering of sprinklers and nozzles over the past 30 years has helped landscape contractors and golf course superintendents apply water more uniformly over a wide range of conditions (slopes, soil type, and wind).
Just as important is the design and installation of the system with proper sprinkler spacing, use of smart controllers and soil moisture sensors, zoning for sun and shade areas and types of plants, and using the right type of sprinkler for the job.
Periodic auditing of the irrigation system, including a catch can test, provides useful data regarding the distribution uniformity of the system and if nozzle changes or sprinkler replacement might be needed.
The term “efficiency” means that water is being applied in the proper amount and without waste. This has a lot to do with how irrigation systems are adjusted and maintained.
Simple things like trimming the grass around sprinklers, raising and leveling heads, arc adjustment on part-circle sprinklers, and changing worn nozzles contribute to better efficiency and use less water. This requires constant monitoring in the field and keeping accurate water-use records.
Here’s how Lake Arrowhead Country Club in California improved its irrigation efficiency by raising and leveling sprinklers, resulting in a 20% to 30% reduction in irrigation run times.
If you have any tips you’d like to share on irrigation uniformity and efficiency, please contact us. Also take time to review Part 1 and Part 2 of this series to learn more ways to conserve water: