Monterey, California’s Poppy Hills Golf Course, owned and operated by the Northern California Golf Association, completely renovated and upgraded its irrigation system last year to include Toro’s Lynx software (pictured), Turf Guard sensors and sprinklers.
Matt Muhlenbruch, Poppy Hills superintendent, says Toro products helped the course achieve water savings goals and improve course conditions overall. “We are well positioned to help the state achieve 25 percent water savings going forward,” he says.
The company has a long history of helping golf courses and superintendents manage their water use and says most use state-of-the-art computerized irrigation control systems that include weather stations, ET (Evapotranspiration) information and a growing number are using soil moisture sensors.
Products like Toro’s Lynx Central Control Software help superintendents apply water to their course with precision. Some Toro systems even allow courses to control irrigation watering times down to the second, so that not a drop is permitted to run unnecessarily.
Many courses already make watering decisions based on how weather and sun exposure affects turf and plant health (referred to as Evapotranspiration or ‘ET’). Toro’s Turf Guard wireless soil sensing technology measures soil moisture, salinity and temperature to help superintendents monitor what is going on beneath the surface of their course. Turf Guard helps courses account for how much moisture is in the soil to determine specific areas that need watering, and can even alert them when defined thresholds are exceeded to shut down the system.
Sprinklers are also key contributors to water use reduction, Toro says. As golf course irrigation control systems have advanced over the years, so have the sprinklers they control. Toro golf sprinklers deliver flexibility with nozzle options and adjustment capabilities to apply water precisely where it is needed.
Toro says it was the first company to offer a golf sprinkler that could be switched from watering a full-circle pattern to watering a part-circle pattern, with just a quick adjustment. This allows courses to stop watering their roughs when necessary, but keep watering the fairways. By upgrading older sprinklers to today’s models, courses can significantly reduce water use, without sacrificing playing conditions.
Looking toward the future, Toro’s Center for Advanced Turf Technology (CATT) has developed site assessment technology used by golf courses and sports fields known as PrecisionSense. This technology helps to identify areas for improvement through the measurement of key soil and turf health attributes and by showing course managers what happens to irrigation water after it’s applied to the soil. This technology has also been used to verify water and resource efficiency once improvements and upgrades have been implemented. PrecisionSense helps superintendents make precise decisions about irrigation scheduling and water application, and due to real-time soil conditions, manage water resources with superior accuracy.