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Words of Water Wisdom

9.30am 23rd May 2006 - Management Topics

Golf managers have been told not to panic as water shortages hit the UK. The NGCAA says that golf clubs can minimise disruption to their courses with a little careful planning while Terrain Aeration have been injecting water storing polymers as part of their deep, compressed air de-compaction treatment not only to conserve water but also to save money. Danish sports turf fertiliser manufacturer BioNutria has launched a liquid fertiliser for especially for water ban areas. Naturally, it helps if topography and forward thinking at the design stage mean that, like The Oxfordshire Golf Club, a course can be water self-sufficient.

Despite mainly wet weather since the crisis was announced, Britain’s first drought order in a decade comes into force and forecasters say that a summer of water shortages is still a very real prospect.
UK golf clubs are being advised to stay calm and Michael Shaw from the National Golf Clubs‘ Advisory Association says that golf clubs can minimise the disruption to their courses with a little careful planning.
“Whenever the threat of a hosepipe ban rears its head, golf club managers and green keepers tend to panic. Everyone, including members, has to be sensible and bear in mind that with the British weather it is simply not possible to have Augusta style courses throughout the year.”
Shaw says clubs should follow these simple steps:

  • 1) Check the exact details of the drought order. It might just ban hoses but not sprinklers, and an order would not normally apply to bore holes or water saved and recycled by the club. Once a drought order has been granted then the relevant water authority must inform its consumers either by post or through the local press as to the extent of the restrictions being placed upon them.

  • 2) Meet your green keeper and agronomist. Make sure you discuss the situation, including the worst case scenario, and work out an action plan. This might include reducing the size of the greens or not dewing the course each morning.

  • 3) Brown isn‘t a problem. Accept that keeping the grass alive is the one overriding issue. This doesn‘t necessarily mean having it a beautiful green colour the whole time.

  • 4) Contact your neighbouring water authority. It might well be that your neighbouring water authority doesn‘t have a ban in place. Most are happy to sell their waste water but bear in mind the storage issues.

Regarding the vexed question of whether or not members can claim a refund for the days on which they are unable to play because the course is out of commission, Shaw is adamant. “Clubs can rest assured that members don‘t have a leg to stand on – although clubs try their utmost, no club will ever guarantee that a course will be fit for play 365 days a year. Given the British weather, this would be madness!” www.ngcaa.org.uk

Aeration additives conserve water and save money
Since hose pipe bans in the south of England were first announced, Terrain Aeration have been injecting water storing polymers as part of their deep, compressed air de-compaction treatment.
Injected on the final air blast and using dried, milled seaweed as a carrier, the polymer crystals travel into the newly created underground fractures and fissures where they are capable of expanding to 100 times their original size following rainfall or irrigation.
Operations director Lynda Green, who can remember aerating with water storing polymers on local authority sports pitches under similar drought conditions in the early to mid 1990s, says that in her experience, the crystals, once in place in the root zone are active for up to10 years.
“The polymers act as an underground reservoir, absorbing water when it is available, ready for use by grass roots during dry periods,” she says. “As soon as the water content of the crystals has been exhausted, they will revert to their original size until they are once again replenished. Using this product as part of our deep, compressed air de-compaction treatment ensures that any water available to the root zone is conserved and released over a controlled period. It could mean the difference between buying in water and relying on natural elements”
Water storing polymers are suitable for injection during the company’s aeration treatment of all amenity turf including golf courses, sports fields, and parks and gardens. Trees and shrubs, whether established or newly planted are also ideal candidates. For further information contact Terrain Aeration on Tel: 01449 673783. www.terrainaeration.co.uk

BioNutria lunches liquid fertiliser for water ban areas
Danish sports turf fertiliser manufacturer BioNutria has launched a new product targeted at those clubs affected by water company drought orders. BioGolf StayGreen combines the company’s highly effective liquid fertilisers with wetting agents. BioGolf Green is delivered pre-diluted.
John Quinn, managing director of the product’s UK distributors said, “In order to maintain a course’s tees and greens in the drought order areas greenkeepers will have to keep up their feeding regimes and try to ensure that any rain that does fall is held by the soil for as long as possible. BioGolf StayGreen is a pre-diluted liquid fertiliser with a wetting agent which will enable greenkeepers to apply a fertiliser which will not scorch and doesn’t need rain to wash it in. The wetting agent will allow any rainfall to be more easily absorbed by the soil and reduce evaporation.
“As the BioGolf products are liquid there will be no problems with either application or equipment. In fact the spraying equipment won’t even need to be washed out. Only the nozzles will need to be rinsed under the tap.”
BioGolf StayGreen is available from Greenmaster Professional Groundcare 0800 027 6561 www.staygreen.co.uk

Self-sufficient golf club helping ease water worries
At a time when drought orders and hosepipe bans are in force in the UK in a desperate bid to avert a serious water shortage, The Oxfordshire Golf Club has been praised by Thames Water for its innovation.
A series of man-made lakes, gulleys and a high-tech irrigation system on the illustrious championship course near Thame mean that the ground staff never have to tap into the mains supply to keep the course in top shape all year round.
Nigel Caldwell, the deputy course manager at The Oxfordshire, said, “The course was designed in such a way that rain and any excess surface water runs off into two big lakes we have on the golf course.
“The water from the lakes is then pumped through the irrigation system and into the sprinkler heads when necessary, but we only tend to irrigate from May to October. We never need to use water from the mains supply.”
Such self-sufficiency has been welcomed by Thames Water, the mains supplier for Oxfordshire which imposed a hosepipe and sprinkler ban in April for the first time in 13 years as groundwater levels became worryingly low.
The Oxfordshire is one of four high quality golf clubs owned by the Leaderboard Group – with similar eco-friendly and water self-sufficient initiatives in place at its other centres in the south of England.
The golf course, which was built in 1993, was intentionally created by leading designer Rees Jones with surface drainage in mind and, as a result, has catchment points of large and small gulley pots and swales all over the course. Any water that lands on the 290-acre site is taken to the lakes and recycled for irrigation. www.theoxfordshiregolfclub.com.

       

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