In this series, company representatives comment on water issues and what their products can do to help superintendents be more efficient in

Rick Irwin, president of Ecologel Solutions.

Rick Irwin, president of Ecologel Solutions.

achieving healthy turf.

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.