To Measure Is To Know

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The Golf Course of the Future

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Golf course superintendents are always looking for ways to improve their course and playing conditions. At Spectrum® Technologies, we are too. Since 1987, we have been pioneering measurement technology and its application for the turf and agriculture markets. Through our focus on measurement technology in the agriculture industry, we have innovated measurement tools to improve decision- making for turf managers. These product innovations have received 25 AE50 Awards from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Reducing water and resource usage, while maintaining healthy, firm, playable turf, is a constant struggle. Societal pressure and increasing government regulations have created a need for new ways of managing water, fertilizer and pesticide usage. Due to these factors, recent innovations in the agriculture industry will soon influence technology innovation in the turfgrass industry. Both industries share similar challenges such as:

  • How to better manage, predict and treat pests and disease.
  • How to achieve optimum irrigation scheduling while reducing water usage and costs.
  • How and when to deliver nutrients.
  • How to predict and adjust to weather and modify a management plan accordingly.

Superintendents and turf managers will continue to be presented with new measurement technologies and innovative uses of data to aid in their quest to provide consistent playing conditions. Here are a few ways data and technology are being used to reduce costs.

Site-Specific Management

The growth and popularity of using precision measurement strategies to accurately diagnose the water and other nutrient needs is now possible. The use of drones to assess turf stress and respond with immediate treatment is advancing.

Golf course superintendents have adopted portable soil moisture meters at a far greater rate than similar types of soil moisture measurement technology in agriculture. As conditions can vary greatly from one green to another, Spectrum® Technologies’ family of FieldScout® TDR Soil Moisture Meters give superintendents the ability to measure soil moisture accurately and instantly. This allows for more effective hand watering of greens, saving golf course’s both water and labor.

With variability in soil types and conditions across the course, more cost-effective soil moisture sensors are needed to perfect irrigation scheduling on a site-specific basis.

Weather Conditions

Other growing industries have adopted weather stations to help improve irrigation decisions, warn of frost and pest pressure. Specific rain data aids in scheduling turf needs due to rain events that can vary significantly from fairway to fairway.

Spectrum® Technologies’ WatchDog® 3250 Wireless ET Station gives superintendents access to weather data at their course from their smartphone even before leaving the house. They can view current temperature, humidity, rainfall, and wind speed and direction. Having current conditions at your fingertips helps superintendents adjust to changes in weather events and having access to historical data informs turfgrass treatment based upon objective data. Through weather station use, superintendents are more informed on how treatment will affect their golf courses, reducing the chance for detrimental consequences, like disease and insect pressure.

Auto-Guidance Systems

As we are beginning to see in other growing industries, we expect golf courses will use auto-guidance systems on their equipment as labor becomes more challenging to staff and fund. The development of autonomous equipment can significantly reduce labor costs. These auto-guidance systems on mowers and sprayers also help turf quality by eliminating overlaps, which can harm the greens.

Satellite Imagery

With satellite imagery, pest infestations are spotted before they spread to large areas. In addition, diseases can be identified, allowing for treatment to get to those areas sooner.

Currently, golf course superintendents are just beginning to use satellite imagery for a clearer picture of their entire courses’ conditions. This imagery allows for quick tailoring of the course’s treatment and irrigation. Large patches of diseased or stressed turfgrass can be identified and treated more quickly.

This is an exciting time for the turfgrass industry. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible. With these advancements and many more to come, the golf industry will continue to innovate using technology to grow higher quality turf and provide more consistent playing conditions.

To learn more about how our turf measurement tools can advance your turf management capabilities, contact the experts at Spectrum® Technologies today at 800-248-8873 or