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& Landscape supply

Six Questions Every Golf Course Should Be Asking About Water Use—Part 5

This is part 5 of a 6-part series on golf course water use. Read Part 4.

Question 5: Is our golf facility taking proper steps to prevent run-off and protect water quality in the watershed?

Just as important as getting water to the golf course is managing what happens to the water once it leaves the golf course. When golf courses apply fertilizers and pesticides to the turf, every effort must be made to ensure that those products are applied correctly and managed in such a way that prevents movement into drains, streams, ponds and unintended off-site locations. The turfgrass canopy and rhizosphere have a tremendous ability to filter and breakdown chemicals, fertilizers and contaminants, but improper application of products can result in off-site movement and contamination of the surrounding water shed.

Surface inlets leading to subsurface drains are typical on many golf courses. What happens to fertilizers or pesticides that are applied over the top of the drain inlets and then watered into the turf? Where does the drain water end up? A few prills of fertilizer that make it down a drain may not seem like much, but keep in mind that it only takes a concentration of 5 parts per million phosphorus to cause an algae bloom in a lake. Asking these questions and analyzing the golf course watershed are important activities to anticipate and prevent off-site contamination.

Best practices to consider for protecting the water shed include:

  • Establishing vegetative buffers along the shoreline of creeks and ponds.
  • Covering drain inlets whenever granular fertilizers or pesticides are applied to fairways.
  • Ensuring that there is proper containment in areas where fertilizers and pesticides are mixed and loaded in case of spills.
  • Semiannual monitoring of water bodies on the golf course.

Coming up next: Question 6—How effectively have we communicated the importance of water conservation to our golfers?

TAGS: Golf Course, Water Management, Water Efficiency