How to Improve Golf Course Maintenance with Underground Soil Sensors
Meadow Club in Marin County in California is a unique, world-class golf club, located just 50 miles away from San Francisco, in a tranquil area surrounded by beautiful nature. As the first golf course in the US designed by the renowned Dr. Alister MacKenzie in 1927, Meadow Club carries its heritage with pride. Every day, the maintenance team ensures that the course and turf are in tip-top shape to provide the golfers with unforgettable playing moments.
Despite its nearly centennial history, Meadow Club is ahead of its time in its advanced, data-driven turf maintenance practices.
In this article, Meadow Club’s superintendent Kevin Hauschel explains how they benefit from using underground wireless soil sensors and monitoring in golf course maintenance – to optimize the turf quality based on real-time soil moisture, salinity, and temperature data.
Continue reading for ten clear benefits!
1. Underground Soil Sensors Show When and Where Water is Needed
The underground soil monitoring solution enables us to optimize irrigation accurately. The wireless soil sensors tell us where and when the water is needed. As the soil conditions vary significantly across the property, not all greens and fairways can be treated according to the same program.
With the root-zone soil moisture data provided by the underground sensors, we know which are the most at critical spots to focus, and we can treat them early – to keep the stress away and avoid diseases.
2. Underground Soil Sensors Complement Other Technologies
One of the crucial advantages of having underground soil monitoring is that its accurate, real-time soil moisture, salinity, and temperature data perfectly complements other maintenance technologies – such as our Greensight drone-mounted thermal imaging solution.
With Soil Scout’s sensors monitoring the root-zone conditions, we can now compare the above-ground thermal imagery, with accurate, below-ground evidence, and quickly fine-tune our golf course maintenance practices.
3. Underground Sensors Increased Working Efficiency Compared to the Previous Solution
One of the biggest reasons for choosing Soil Scout is increased working efficiency! Now our team doesn’t have to fiddle around, taking sensors in and out, as with our previous solution.
We have become more efficient as a team. We can spend less time on unproductive tasks, and proactively concentrate on tasks that directly affect turf quality and health!
4. Easy and Fast Installation
Easy and fast installation are valuable features. They make the initial investment cheaper and reduce the recurring maintenance costs because each re-configuration requires less time and effort.
The ability to just dig the sensors in the ground and know that they are going to work for up to 20 years is a significant benefit for us!
5. The Wireless Solution is Flexible and Customizable
Soil Scout’s wireless system with cable-free underground sensors and solar-powered radio signal repeaters provides turf managers exceptional flexibility. It makes maintenance more efficient and allows us to optimize the system as per our needs – so, we can place the sensors where they are needed the most. The wireless, solar-powered repeaters can be freely moved around the property.
The wireless, solar-powered radio repeater, Soil Scout Echo Repeater.
6. Start with a Small Initial Investment – Add More Sensors Over Time
With Soil Scout, a golf club can start with a small initial investment, and scale it along with the budget.
The benefit of this is that you can start to learn data-driven turf maintenance practices with one hole. Six sensors strategically placed at the most critical spots are sufficient at the beginning. You can easily continue to add sensors and gain more knowledge and in-depth information across your property over time.
7. With Soil Scout You Are Not Dependent on Cellular Signal
Many wireless soil monitoring solutions are built on cellular connectivity, which can be a major draw-back because many golf courts, just like meadow Club, are located outside of strong 4G coverage. The signal strength can be weak in some spots, or, in the worst case, it is not available at all.
With Soil Scout, you are not dependent on a 4G signal. The short-range/local radio technology was a big drawer for us, as we don’t have to rely on cellular coverage right across the property. Now we can install the soil sensors where we most need them, rather than where the coverage allows!
8. One Easy Dashboard for Soil Sensors and Drone Images
The cloud-based Soil Scout dashboard is easy to use for several reasons. Firstly, all information fields and charts can be rearranged and named based on our fairways and greens, and anyone in our team can check the situation on any sensor, anytime. We can also see both the Soil Scout sensor data and Greensight’s drone-based aerial thermal images under the same TurfCloud umbrella dashboard.
9. You Can Follow Soil Data Trends Year-on-Year
The ability to build data patterns and monitor trends year-on-year is essential in data-driven golf turf maintenance. It allows you to optimize your maintenance practices in the long-term. You can learn more about timings of the inputs such as fertilizers, and pesticides, and see the effect on the diseases, grubs, and on the turf quality in general.
10. Underground Monitoring Enables Longevity for Your Club’s Maintenance Practices
The world-famous golf courts such as Meadow Club are permanent establishments, which must deliver players, from one generation to the next, their unique signature golfing experience. To sustain superior turf quality in the long-term, a club must build longevity in their turf maintenance practices. As a superintendent, my responsibility is to ensure that the next guy can take over the helm at Meadow Club, and continue keeping the turf in the best possible shape and health. Soil Scout’s sensors and underground data enable us to extend the same data-driven turf maintenance practices for years to come!
“Having in ground sensors from Soil Scout helps us become more efficient and tells when and where we need the water most at critical times” – Kevin Hauschel, Superintendent, Meadow Club
What’s Data-driven Golf Course Maintenance?
Data-driven golf course maintenance is based on data that provides accurate and actionable information about soil’s growth conditions. The data is available in real-time to enable turf managers and superintendents to carry out high-precision, timely soil maintenance practices. The data-driven golf course maintenance saves operational costs, reduce water consumption, and helps to maintain optimal turf quality always.
Download our whitepaper – Data-driven Sports Turf Maintenance – it gives golf and sports turf professionals 10 Tips for optimized turf maintenance!