For anyone who plays golf leisurely or for serious competition, it is widely known that one of the keys to a great golf course & great round of golf is proper golf course irrigation.
The basic components of a golf irrigation system include:
- water source (man made lake or pond)
- pump station
- water distribution pumps & valves
- control valves (fuels the automatic irrigation systems, which are either satellite based or stand-alone, releases water into valves)
- control lines (funnels delivery of water into sprinklers)
- sprinkler heads – (types of heads – pop-ups, fixed spray, bubblers, strip & rotary. Golf courses use rotary & pop-up, giving a 360 degree turn)
- fertigation (chemical injected into irrigation system & must be spread uniformly across entire irrigation system.
The best time to irrigate a golf course is early morning. Reasons include:
- bad distribution of winds later in the day
- water is lost due to evaporation
- inconvenience to golfers who have to play during the afternoon
- higher algae levels
- leaves & soil have higher chances of infection
The most important element of golf course irrigation is operation of the system. Many times, golf courses are over-irrigated & while there isn’t a perfect irrigation system, many operators (especially at PGA Tour courses) feel pressure to have lush, fast greens at all times. Irrigation should take place on a need basis by checking soil moisture levels, cloud cover, rain in the next 10 days, & water status.