Focusing Irrigation on Priority Areas

By |  July 11, 2012

In case you missed it, here’s yesterday’s Puttin’ Down Roots, by Karl Danneberger.

What do you think? In times of drought, does the rough deserve a drink? Leave us a comment below! 

With drought conditions hitting many parts of the United States this year, watering is a critical issue not only in the amount available but how it should be used. In areas where water is limited, prioritize the critical areas on a golf course that need to receive water. Obviously, greens are at the top of the list, followed by tees.

But from a golfing perspective, areas like greens surrounds/complex and associated fairway and rough landing areas may need to be considered. The green complex provides not only a visually aesthetic area but also an important area for playability. Golfers don’t want to miss the putting surface by a few yards and see their golf balls bounce 30 to 50 yards away.

One of the most difficult areas to decide how to water is fairway landing areas. In some cases where water is plentiful even with a drought, the tendency is to overwater. This results in the ball plugging or causes little roll. To the golfer this is extremely disappointing, especially if a playing partner misses the fairway slightly but gets an additional 30 yards because of drought conditions in the rough.

You need to communicate with your golfers or members on the conditions they would value, especially regarding fairway conditions. It might be if water is limited, that they would rather have the fairways drier and the rough actually receiving some water to make it more penal.

Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., Golfdom‘s science editor and a turfgrass professor from The Ohio State University, can be reached at

Editor’s note: “Puttin’ Down Roots,” an e-newsletter from Golfdom and sponsored by BASF, focuses on plant health. Each month, Golfdom provides readers with a useful plant health tip so they can do their jobs easier. 

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