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Why Meadow Club Uses Soil Scout for Data-driven Golf Turf Maintenance?

Kevin Hauschel Meadow Club Golf

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. Soil Scout’s underground wireless soil sensors and Cloud-based monitoring solution help the team optimize the turf quality with accurate, real-time soil moisture, salinity, and temperature data.

In this article, Meadow Club’s superintendent Kevin Hauschel explains why Meadow Club chose Soil Scout and the ten most significant benefits.

1. Underground Soil Sensors Show When and Where Water is Needed

 

Soil Scout soil monitoring data

 

Soil Scout’s solution enables us to optimize irrigation accurately. The 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. Soil Scout Complements Other Technologies with Accurate Soil Data

One of the crucial advantages of having Soil Scout is that its accurate, real-time underground soil data perfectly complements other turf maintenance technologies – such as our Greensight drone-mounted thermal imaging solution.

With Soil Scout on board, we can now compare the above-ground thermal imagery, with accurate, below-ground evidence, and fine-tune our data-driven turf maintenance practices.

3. Soil Scout 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

 

golf soil sensor 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.

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

 

soil scout golf dashboard

 

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. Soil Scout Enables Longevity for Your Club’s Turf 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 Turf Maintenance?

Data-driven golf turf 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 turf 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!

Contact Soil Scout for a Trial!

 

Optimize Sports Turf Irrigation and Maintenance with Underground Soil Data

optimize sports turf irrigation

The primary challenge in Sports Turf Irrigation, is: how to ensure a safe, durable, and high-quality playing field while optimizing water consumption and maintenance costs?

The irrigation is often scheduled based on inaccurate information. As a result, Turf Managers cannot achieve optimal turf conditions, water is wasted, and repeated maintenance activities increase costs.

There is an alternative – by using Underground Wireless Sensors; you can easily monitor soil quality data in real-time in multiple spots, detect the infield soil variations and irrigate each part of your turf in an optimized way – saving costs, time, and water! 

Soil Scout provides wireless soil monitoring at many sports and golf turfs globally – including the iconic venues, the Wembley Stadium, and Philadelphia Phillies.

In this Blog, we explain how to optimize sports turf irrigation and maintenance with underground soil data!

Download our whitepaper – Data-driven Sports Turf Maintenancefor 10 Tips for using underground soil data to improve turf quality!

What’s the Main Challenge in Sports Turf Irrigation?

Lack of accurate underground soil data, which would also provide an insight into the infield soil variations, makes irrigation optimization difficult for Turf Managers.

The turf maintenance staff often use hand-held measurement instruments to collect soil data. However, poor repeatability of the exact measuring spots reduces the consistency of manually collected data. Further, collecting enough samples to compensate for this inconsistency, not to mention covering an entire field properly, becomes an excessively laborious task.

Automated irrigation is usually scheduled according to evapotranspiration (ET) models, which are unable to expose local differences such as uneven precipitation – let alone providing enough granularity to detect the infield variations in soil moisture.

How Unoptimized Irrigation Affects Turf?

sports turf irrigation

Unfortunately, scheduling Turf Irrigation based on inadequate information causes several problems.

Under-watering

Under-watering a turf results in a hard field surface, which increases the risks of shin splints, and shoulder and knee injuries, and slows down turf growth. Increased salinity, on the other hand, reduces grassroots’ ability to take up water and nutrients.

Over-irrigation

On the contrary, over-irrigation intensifies unnecessary turf growth and results in lush turf, which doesn’t tolerate heavy use. Wet soil surface compacts quickly and the roots’ ability to access water deeper in the soil. Many weed problems emerge due to over-irrigation. Over-irrigation increases leaching of nutrients, and denitrification (nitrogen is lost into the air).

Unbalanced Irrigation

The ET-models cannot provide sufficient detail for detecting soil moisture variations between different parts of the field. Hence the irrigation is applied uniformly across the entire field – even though the parts exposed to most sun and wind would require more water compared to the areas which stay most time in the shade or receive more intense natural precipitation.

You end up wasting the maintenance budget on reactive care, rather than investing in proactive, long-term turf development!

Consequently, it is impossible to achieve optimal field conditions without accurate underground soil data. Instead, extra maintenance actions are required throughout the season. Consumption of fertilizers and water surfactants increases, much water is wasted in the process, and, consequently, you end up wasting the maintenance budget on reactive care, rather than doing proactive, long-term turf development.

The Solution: Optimize Sports Turf Irrigation with Underground Soil Sensors

sport turf soil monitoring solutionThe solution is underground soil monitoring using wireless sensors, which are easy to deploy and can measure moisture, salinity, and temperature in multiple spots at your turf in real-time. With the data provided by the underground sensors, you can determine precisely, which parts of the turf need to be treated, and when – and where do you need more sensors to support your agronomical problem assessment!

Why Should You Monitor the Infield Soil Variations?

With the underground sensors, you don’t have to settle for inaccurate information based on a single average moisture value for the entire field. Instead, you can place multiple underground sensors across your field in the locations you know are different by experience, monitor different parts of the field separately, and apply an individual management plan for each of them.

By capturing the infield variations in your field, you can apply the right site-specific maintenance activities, identify the optimal areas and replicate the conditions, eliminate quality variations, avoid unnecessary maintenance activities, and refocus your maintenance efforts and budget on more pressing issues and proactive turf development. So, by monitoring infield soil variations, you can avoid unbalanced irrigation!

The Benefits of Underground Soil Monitoring

sports turf irrigation soil data

When you monitor the soil quality below the field surface, you can avoid the problems of under-watering and over-irrigation. Here’s a rundown of the benefits:

  • Improve the field quality and minimize infield quality variations
  • Optimize the field hardness and minimize injuries
  • Increase the maintenance work efficiency
  • Reduce water consumption
  • Avoid leaching – use fertilizers more efficiently
  • Diminish the need for expensive water additives and surfactants
  • Optimize turf growth pace
  • Reduce reactive maintenance costs and invest in proactive development instead!

Why should you choose Soil Scout’s Wireless Soil Sensor?

sports turf wireless soil sensor

Soil Scout is a highly accurate underground wireless sensor, which provides you with soil moisture, salinity, and temperature data in real-time on the Cloud – on a smartphone, or your irrigation system among the many alternatives.

The sensors are easy and quick to install, and you can monitor the soil conditions with any number of sensors buried in the field. You can start with a small number of sensors, and simply dig in more whenever the need arises.

The cost-efficient system allows you to cover an entire field, collect data from multiple spots, and to capture the infield variations in soil moisture, salinity, and temperature accurately.

Soil Scout sensors are entirely maintenance-free. The sensors are fully buried, allowing for obstacle-free turf maintenance – the battery lasts for more than ten years of continuous operation.

The unique, patented radio technology of Soil Scout is developed and optimized for underground wireless data transmission. The underground antenna autonomously adjusts itself to the soil’s electromagnetic conditions providing the highest performance in the market – reaching the antennas hundreds of meters away!

No SIM card is required on the sensors. A simple above-the-ground antenna picks up the sensors’ signals and transmits the data to the Cloud via a cellular modem.

Soil Scout is not just a simple soil moisture sensor without a cable. The complete system allows you to gain a deeper view with rich, accurate data to collaborate with your agronomist, to find out even better practices for pesticides and nutritional regimes, following the recorded moisture, salinity, and temperature levels from a season to another. It is a multi-faceted agronomic tool – you can decide on the way to use the data!

In Conclusion

Sports Turf Irrigation is only as accurate and efficient as the data behind it!

With Soil Scout, you don’t have to settle for outdated and inconsistent soil moisture information anymore. Soil Scout provides you with a smooth and cost-efficient wireless solution for monitoring real-time underground data with unprecedented accuracy. Now, you can be sure that your turf is going to deliver a safe, high-quality arena for sports until the end of the season – with less water and lower costs!

Learn how accurate underground soil data enables you to Optimize the Turf! Contact our sales team!

Download our whitepaper – Data-driven Sports Turf Maintenance – it gives turf professionals 10 Tips for using underground soil data for optimized turf maintenance!

Driving Efficient Water Use at Desert Mountain


One thing is for certain as it pertains to golf course maintenance, and that is how we protect our most valuable natural resource – WATER.  With technology increasing at a rapid pace when it comes to how we manage our courses, we have found that by integrating the Soil Scout system into our daily routine, we are able to become more anticipatory rather than reactionary in our irrigation scheduling.  With the wireless sensors and real time information, we have become more precise in calculating the percentage gain or loss of moisture in the soil.

The Soil Scout allows us to see exactly what impact an irrigation cycle had on the moisture level and we are able to be more efficient in future scheduling by watching the data that we receive from the in ground sensors.  It does all that is says it can do and has shown to be another valuable tool in our efforts to produce high quality playing conditions while at the same time using  water wiser.

Marc Snyder
Superintendent – Outlaw Course, Desert Mountain

Mississaugua Golf relies on Soil Scout

‘We are using Soil Scout to provide us with up to the second data on what is happening below the turf surface. We have remote access from anywhere in the world at the touch of a button and have quickly become reliant on the convenience that this service provides. The product was easy to install and the Soil Scout team has been very quick to help us get set up and when we have needed support we have had no issues. We look forward to building on our infrastructure and expanding beyond our current use’

Jon Smith
Golf Course and Property Manager
Mississaugua Golf and Country Club, Ontario, Canada