Golf courses in Minnesota, Texas and New Mexico are relying on technology, bureaucratic compromises and old-fashioned elbow grease to keep the tees, fairways and greens as lush as possible.
Golf courses in Minnesota, Texas and New Mexico are figuring out new ways to deal with drought conditions efficiently.
Course workers at the Bemidji (Minn.) Town and Country Club are attempting to keep the course watered in dry conditions for its 88th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament, the Bemidji Pioneer reported.
“If Mother Nature cooperates with us and we get some timely rain it would help, but obviously we haven’t had that and things show it quite a bit,” Golf Course Superintendent Tom Johanns said.
Crews worked non-stop last week to prepare for the tournament. While the irrigation system uses its own well, Johanns said it irrigates only 45 of the course’s 175 acres, with a focus on tee boxes, fairways and greens, the Bemidji Pioneer reported.
Up until the start of the tournament, workers used hoses to water areas of rough, but with 200-plus golfers on the course during the week of tournament play, hoses can only be used at night.
“We have a few scars from the conditions we’ve had on a couple of greens, and there is some evidence of issues on the fairways, but overall it is OK,” Johanns said.
In College Station, Texas, the golf course at Texas A&M University has a computer-powered irrigation system that adjusts sprinklers in seconds to water selected areas with just the right amount of moisture, KBTX-TV reported.
“The irrigation is only supposed to get us between rains, so once we get a rain we quit watering until we have to water again,” said Mark Haven, Course Superintendent and Associate Director of Recreational Sports.
The Texas A&M Golf Course uses water pumped in by the university rather than reclaimed water, KBTX-TV reported.
“Effluent is cost-prohibitive because of the infrastructure we’d have to cross to get it here. We get most of our water from a well; our irrigation lake captures runoff from about 60 percent of the golf course,” explained Haven.
The course averages 32 million gallons of water a year to keep the course going, but last year’s record drought used about 65 million. Texas A&M pumps about 20 million gallons a day through the campus, KBTX-TV reported.
Meanwhile, the Santa Fe (N.M.) City Council agreed that golf courses at The Club at Las Campanas could be irrigated for up to two weeks with water from the publicly owned Buckman Well Field, The New Mexican reported.
Golf course managers reported a water-supply emergency at the private golf courses. The club had bought treated wastewater effluent from the city for years until this spring, when it became a customer of the Santa Fe County water system. Under the plan, the courses would receive Rio Grande surface water drawn through the joint city-county Buckman Direct Diversion.
However, high levels of sediment from monsoon rains have caused the diversion to go offline. The club intended to use water stored in ponds during the transition period, but three of the four ponds developed leaks. Though the club would rather use city effluent again than pay for well water from the county, it needs time to get the pipeline back online, The New Mexican reported.tools