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Water Conservation and Reduced Inputs

Water Conservation and Reduced Inputs

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Published by David C Phipps

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: David C Phipps on Oct 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/11/2010

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Water Conservation and Reduced Inputs at Stone Creek Golf Club
David PhippsSuperintendentStone Creek Golf ClubOregon City, ORStone Creek Golf Club is amunicipally owned18-holecourse designed by PeterJacobsen/Jim Hardy. Thecourse is scenicallydesigned and offersspectacular views of Mt.Hood. The course is laidout over 120 acres of landwith old-growth DouglasFirs, lakes, four wetlands,and forty-three bunkers.From the onset of construction at Stone Creek Golf Club we knew that water was goingto be a valuable commodity. Our sources were limited in that we could draw from a localcreek, but only enough to keep 2 cubic feet per second passing by our water diversionwhich meant we were pretty much done diverting water on July 1
st
. Our second source isa deep well that at its best will pump 230 gallons per minute. The well is our only watersource from July though October. Running 24/7 the well will pump 331,200 gallons of water to the irrigation pond during a 24 hour period. Given pond seepage and evaporationwe will keep our water limit to 280,000 gallons on a high water demand night. Out of a140 acre site we will irrigate roughly 90 acres of turf. In 2009 we pumped a 121 acre feetwhich is 1.34 acre foot per acre. Based on the Golf Course Environmental Profile, WaterUse and Conservation Practices Survey, the Pacific Region uses an average of 158 acrefeet per 18 hole facility. That equates to 1.9 acre foot per irrigated acre.One of our biggest areas of water savings is the drivingrange. We have been able toshut it off as soon as we startdrawing from the well andwe simply let it go dormant.This saves us in excess of 30,000 gallons a night whichcan be better used on otherplaces. With the fescues itrapidly recovers upon theonset of the first fall rains.
 
Many would think that a golf course in Oregon would receive plenty of rain throughoutthe year, but within the time frame between July and October we are lucky to see an inch.Stone Creek offers distinctseasonal conditions to thegolfers which they haveunanimously accepted. In thesummer, if I may use a quotefrom Mark Esoda, CGCS of Atlanta Country Club, StoneCreek is a little “crispy”around the edges. Thegolfer’s love the additionalbounce and can enjoy thegame the way is was played100 years ago.As the fall rains begin, thecourse transitions in almost aweek’s time back to green. We are always amazed how fast the fescues will recover.Knowing our water woes prior to construction we were fortunate to be able to design anirrigation system and a turfgrass management plan that would accommodate thiscondition. Our tee boxes were irrigated block style keeping all of the water on the teetops and allowing the grass to go dormant around them in the summer.The turfgrass we selected was a combination of fine fescues with 40% perennial ryegrass.These species were planted wall-to-wall with the exception of the tees and greens. Whatwe have seen over the last 9 years is the natural areas between the holes havepredominately become a stand of fine fescue. The roughs that receive limited irrigation inthe summer are also primarily fescue as well. The fairways maintain a combination of ryeand fine fescue.The benefit of fine fescue isthat it will thrive on limitedfertilizer. The outer roughreceives zero nitrogen andremains thin and is only mownin the fall. Our regular roughwill receive from .75 to 1.5 lbsof nitrogen and our fairwayswill receive 2.5 lbs of nitrogen.We have transitioned to a 90%methylene urea slow releaseproduct. This has given us aslow and safe release curve

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