When it comes to maintaining fine turf for golf courses, all things lead to water. The intelligent use of water is important to us not just for the environment, but also in developing a healthy stand of turf and up to now, many of the decisions we made were somewhat subjective. Well, gone are those days. Meet the TDR 300 Moisture Meter.
This new tool being put to use mainly on the greens will help us develop and fine tune a proper watering schedule throughout the summer. The moisture meter measures the percentage of volumetric water content (VWC) in the top 3.5" of the soil. This spring we will check each green daily in the same "grid type" method recording VWC% at up to 12 points on each green. This information will be stored on computer and mapped to show us how each green dries down from the last rains of the year.
The information we record will help us determine when to over-head water the greens. Throughout this process, we can also determine how each portion of a specific green handles the water we give it and then adjust the amount of water applied during each irrigation event accordingly. It will also help greatly in training the staff on how to properly hand water the greens in between over-head watering cycles.
One of my favorite things about maintaining the golf course is that it's very much a blend of art and science. The old method of checking moisture was to pull out a soil core and feel the soil with your hands. Although quite subjective with regard to checking moisture, there is an art and feel to this and it tells us so much more about what is going on in the soil than just reading a number on a screen. This new tool will help us be better managers of water throughout the golf course and in turn make Claremont more enjoyable for you each time you play!