Company representatives to comment on water issues and what their products can do to help superintendents be more efficient in achieving healthy turf.

Tom Penning, President/Irrometer

Q: You’ve heard it said that brown should be the “new green” when it comes to golf course turfgrass. What do you think of this approach?

A: In areas with severe drought conditions, players are aware that appearance may suffer a bit in order to help conserve resources. Superintendents have to manage the water conservatively in order to maintain acceptable playability.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water management. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: With 64 years of experience providing water management solutions, we’re very confident in making such recommendations.

Q: Many superintendents strive to present golf course turf that’s firm and fast, yet green. Any advice for them on how to achieve this?

A: The more information that a superintendent has on the conditions, the better he is positioned to make appropriate decisions for his course for the tradeoff between appearance and playability.

Q: Why should superintendents use your company’s products to help them irrigate more efficiently and effectively?

A: Our Watermark soil moisture sensor offers an affordable and easy-to-use solution to help them understand their turf’s water requirement. Then irrigation can be scheduled to match plant demand.

Don Spier, Vice President/ Precision Labs

Q: You’ve heard it said that brown should be the “new green” when it comes to golf course turfgrass. What do you think of this approach?

A: I don’t agree with this approach. The issue isn’t about color; it’s more about the golfer’s desire to experience healthy playing conditions. If superintendents possess the tools to meet their customers’ expectations, while maintaining healthy turf and stewarding resources such as water, then they should strive to do so. As we try to attract new players to the game of golf, we should keep in mind that many of our prospective customers value aesthetics.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water management. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: There’s a certain amount of pressure associated with providing our customers with good water management solutions. We understand that what we propose needs to be innovative, sensible and effective.

Q: Many superintendents strive to present golf course turf that’s firm and fast, yet green. Any advice for them on how to achieve this?

A: Most superintendents already know how to do this. They’re combining the cultural practices necessary to ensure plant health with the utilization of new chemistries that allow them to prevent disease, fight weeds and insects, and effectively manage water in the spray tank, spray zone, on the leaf blade and in the soil.

Q: Why should superintendents use your company’s products to help them irrigate more efficiently and effectively?

A: It’s the right thing to do. Irrigation in the U.S. consumes more than 100 billion gallons of water every day. If superintendents can meet the expectations of their customers and reduce the use of water and the energy needed to pump it, why would they not utilize products that allow them to do both?

Matt Cimino, Senior Technical Services Advisor/ CIVITAS

Q: You’ve heard it said that brown should be the “new green” when it comes to golf course turfgrass. What do you think of this approach?

A: I believe the culture of the customer base needs to change along with the expectations that network TV golf has created. Aesthetics of our courses has been and for the foreseeable future will be top of mind for our golfing clientele. I have managed turf under some pretty tough conditions, such as the Texas drought of 2011. We had 4 inches of rain in 14 months and temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 85 days that summer. Even under those conditions we maintained a green golf course through proper irrigation and a lot of hose dragging. The expectation from my members was to be green.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water management. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: It’s in a superintendent’s nature to always strive to do things better than they did the prior day or year. Being the most efficient with water or any other input we have is something we are always focusing on.

Q: Many superintendents strive to present golf course turf that’s firm and fast, yet green. Any advice for them on how to achieve this?

A: I know that’s the mantra I was taught and subscribed to as a turf manager. Management practices that are conducive to these conditions exert a certain amount of stress to achieve these goals. Therefore, creating the healthiest environment leads to the ability to move those thresholds out so the plant can withstand more. The game of multiple stresses killing turf hasn’t changed. The healthier the plant is going into those stressful times, the greater the chances it has to survive and come out on the other side.

Q: Why should superintendents use your company’s products to help them irrigate more efficiently and effectively?

A: CIVITAS products are perfect for moving the threshold to better combat stress imposed on the plant. CIVITAS products can help to move the threshold and make a healthier plant.

David Mears, Director/ Highspeed Group Ltd.

Q: Why should superintendents today be concerned about water recycling?

A: Water is a precious resource, and we all need to play our part in conserving, rather than wasting water. Besides, water is becoming an increasingly expensive commodity.

Q: Do superintendents realize how much water they can save by using a recycling wash system?

A: Maybe not, but most are environmentally aware and rising water costs have focused attention on this. Thousands of gallons of water can be saved by washing down golf machinery with a genuine water recycling system. It’s not unreasonable to say that a typical greenkeeping department could save more than 130,000 gallons of water a year.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water-saving technology. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: Water saving is one of the driving forces behind superintendents seeking water-saving solutions. But there’s pressure on them to prevent pollution and be pollution-compliant. No superintendent wants to be held responsible for polluting. There are many wash station solutions available, so making the right choice carries responsibility.

Q: Describe how superintendents can use your company’s product to achieve a more sustainable operation?

A: Investing in a ClearWater system is a cost-effective way of preventing groundwater pollution and meeting EPA requirements. ClearWater offers an efficient, fast wash off and, being below ground, operates at a low and stable temperature. This means micro-organisms perform better and there’s far less chance of harmful bacteria forming.

Scott May, Owner-Inventor/Turf Screen

Q: You’ve heard it said that brown should be the “new green” when it comes to golf course turfgrass. What do you think of this approach?

A: I think “down and brown” or “fast and firm” approaches are great approaches for turf managers – and are here to stay. While I was a superintendent I certainly subscribed to the fast and firm approach. But for me it was still a choice. In the future I don’t think it will be much of a choice. With environmental and/or budgetary issues more of a concern today than ever – and public perception more and more of an issue – superintendents will have to adjust to this approach in order to do even more with less in terms of conditioning. I also think superintendents – and, more importantly, their employers – are realizing that these maintenance approaches take commitment, dedication, education and proven maintenance techniques.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water management. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: I don’t think there is necessarily any pressure on manufacturers to help, but there’s some pressure to overcome some of the obstacles in terms of educating superintendents on the technologies currently available to them. There are plenty of solutions on the market, but there are so many different variables that affect product selection, including weather and environmental factors, turf species, soil conditions, maintenance programs, membership expectations and budgets. Like most things, knowledge is the key.

Q: Many superintendents strive to present golf course turf that’s firm and fast, yet green. Any advice for them on how to achieve this?

A: Superintendents have found that Turf Screen can help them achieve faster and firmer playing conditions without sacrificing aesthetics.

Q: Why should superintendents use your company’s products to help them irrigate more efficiently and effectively?

A: Superintendents who use Turf Screen find their turf uses water more efficiently and performs better during times of drought and environmental stress. Quite simply, Turf Screen allows turf to perform better with fewer inputs. More importantly, it makes a superintendent’s job a bit less stressful.

Rick Irwin, President/Ecologel Solutions

Q: You’ve heard it said that brown should be the “new green” when it comes to golf course turfgrass. What do you think of this approach?

A: At Ecologel, we believe in sustainability without sacrifice. “Brown is the new green” has become a popular catchphrase and was a trending motto surrounding last year’s U.S. Open. This motto plays into the perception that large-scale water conservation is only attainable through reductions in turf quantity and quality. There are many ways to reduce water consumption on a golf course. Traditionally, the focus has been hardware-related. The more receptive superintendents are using a combination of efficient hardware with consumables like wetting agents, polymers or the hygroscopic humectant technology of Hydretain.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water management. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: Pressure only follows responsibility for those who are unprepared. Ecologel was founded on the basis of water conservation. With our flagship technology, Hydretain, we have been promoting golf course water management since the mid-1990s. To this day, our mission is to provide the industry with innovative technologies to help maintain exceptional quality while promoting the responsible management of natural resources.

Q: Many superintendents strive to present golf course turf that’s firm and fast, yet green. Any advice for them on how to achieve this?

A: Firm and fast doesn’t have to mean brown. Firm, fast, green and healthy turf is absolutely possible with the right tools.

Q: Why should superintendents use your company’s products to help them irrigate more efficiently and effectively?

A:For more than 20 years Ecologel’s Hydretain technology – marketed under the brands Hydretain, LESCO Moisture Manager and H3O – has helped superintendents reduce course irrigation requirements and improve turf quality. It’s the only product of its kind that actually captures moisture in the soil that would otherwise be lost to evaporation. This moisture is then passed along to plants’ roots, thereby minimizing drought stress and reducing the burden on irrigation.

Kirk Whatley, Sales Manager/Sonic Solutions

Q: Why should superintendents be concerned about water quality?

A: From the aesthetic point of view, club members and their guests don’t want water features that are odorous and unsightly due to algae. Algae in irrigation ponds or tanks can cause costly problems with pumps and sprinkler heads. In addition, superintendents who pride themselves on being good stewards of the environment have to be careful about using chemicals like copper-based products to control algae because they can result in collateral damage to grass and aquatic life.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water quality. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: Being good stewards of the environment is good for membership satisfaction and public perception of the industry. Superintendents are under constant pressure to maintain or improve their water quality, and many superintendents have looked for better ways to maintain water quality so they can reduce or eliminate chemicals.

Q:Most superintendents strive to pre-sent golf courses that are aesthetically pleasing, but not over-the-top aesthetically pleasing. Any advice on how to achieve that balance?

A: Nothing is more beautiful than a natural looking pond with clear water. SonicSolutions has units that have been operating for more than 10 years. When you take the average cost of a unit amortized for just five years and the minimal operating costs (the system uses less than 10 watts of power), this is a very cost-effective solution. Just one unit can treat up to 8 acres depending on conditions.

Q: How can superintendents use your company’s product to improve water quality?

A: SonicSolutions can help superintendents achieve the beautiful pond that members and guests want to see, to keep their irrigation pond chemical-free and ready to use 24/7, and to keep the adjacent neighborhoods happy with the water quality leaving the golf course.

Carla Ott, President/ Otterbine-Barebo

Q: Why should superintendents be concerned about water quality?

A: Water quality sustains ecological processes that support fish populations, vegetation, wetlands and birdlife. Clearly, superintendents are environmental leaders and stewards in that they have the potential to positively impact the environment of the golf course by the way they manage the course and the water on the course. The impact they make on a course ultimately ends up affecting not only their courses but all the surrounding land and water.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water quality. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: The pressure that comes with manufacturing pond and lake aeration systems comes from trying to make sure superintendents are educated on pond and lake management and the benefits of pond aeration. Otterbine-Barebo has been manufacturing independently tested pond and lake aeration equipment for more than 50 years. Superintendents need to look for accredited third-party oxygen transfer testing and safety testing. Furthermore, finding a distributor/installer that is trained in lake management will make all of the difference in creating success for the superintendent and the golf course.

Q: How can superintendents use your company’s product to improve water quality?

A: Otterbine pond and lake aeration products improve water quality by creating currents that eliminate stagnant water and induce oxygen into the water column. Otterbine systems bring oxygen-rich cool water to warm surface water, helping to eliminate thermal stratification. Aeration also replenishes the depleted oxygen and encourages the production and longevity of healthy aerobic bacteria that consume excess nutrients and returns the water feature to a healthy and stable ecosystem.

Brian Pirl, Vice President of Operations/U.S. Aqua Vac

Q: You’ve heard it said that brown should be the “new green” when it comes to golf course turfgrass. What do you think of this approach?

A: I think a golf course needs to do what it can financially to stay afloat. If the course doesn’t have access to millions of gallons of water to irrigate every day, then it needs to make adjustments. But I do think people like to play the game to be around trees, nice waterways and the smell of green fresh cut fairways. It puts people in a relaxed state of mind.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water management. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: Today’s superintendents have a lot on their shoulders. I’m amazed at the amount of their knowledge. But at that same time no one can expect a superintendent to be an expert about everything. I don’t think that there’s any pressure that comes with the responsibility of superintendents turning to U.S. Aqua Vac for expert advice on water management and pond cleaning.

Q: Many superintendents strive to present golf course turf that’s firm and fast, yet green. Any advice for them on how to achieve this?

A: As we have cleaned golf course ponds across the U.S., one of the things that I’ve always noticed is how green and firm the turf was as we set up for pond cleaning. Any golf course can have beautiful green turf, but it all starts with a clean irrigation system.

Q: Why should superintendents use your company’s products to help them irrigate more efficiently and effectively?

A: U.S. Aqua Vac can help any golf course achieve a healthy irrigation system. U.S. Aqua Vac makes sure that a course’s irrigation intakes are clear of any sediment. For any superintendent that has learned the hard way; this can be a very expensive lesson learned after an irrigation pump is burned up. Our thorough pond cleaning will also reduce weeds and the need for pond chemicals, which can greatly help with a course’s overall profit numbers.

Aaron Auger, Water Treatment Division Manager/Mi-T-M Corp.

Q: Why should superintendents today be concerned about water recycling? Do they realize how much water they can save by using a wash system with recycled water?

A: Water conservation has always been an issue in the industry and over the last few years we have seen enforcement [for water conservation] become greater. By using a closed-loop wash water recycling system, a superintendent can save his course hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year.

Q: More than ever, superintendents are looking to you for answers to help them with water management. Is there pressure that comes with this responsibility? Why or why not?

A: I don’t feel that there is pressure in helping to educate someone. We have a product that has a proven track record. Our job is to educate the customer on the benefits of our technology and give them a product that works.

Q: Describe how superintendents can use your company’s product to achieve a more sustainable operation?

A: By implementing a closed-loop reclaim system, a superintendent can have a wash bay that conforms with water regulations. It will elevate a course to a higher standard for environmental compliance. Being able to treat and reuse water on a daily basis will only add to a golf course’s sustainability.