Take Stock Of Your Water April 1, 2014 By Bud White

The USGA’s Water Resource Center is an invaluable source for information regarding golf’s use of water. Visit it at

Most of the lower Midwest remains in a significant drought that is shaping up to be quite a problem for this upcoming summer. Many lakes in Texas and surrounding areas are at record-low water levels. March and April are key months for recharging lake levels prior to summer. Many water districts are currently in water restriction modes, and this will only progress if we do not receive some significant rainfall as we transition into summer.

Many have probably noticed that some areas have received rainfall, even in amounts of one to two inches, but these nice rains did not affect lake water levels. The ground is so dry that it will take more significant rainfall events to resupply the ground with moisture before additional runoff can fill lakes.

Not only is water quantity severely low, but reduction in water quality coincides with this phenomenon as salt levels in the water increase. This leaves some important questions to ask as we potentially move toward a significant drought event:

  • Does your golf facility have a drought-emergency plan in place? For developing such a plan, please see the excellent article Developing a Drought-Emergency Plan. For more resources on golf’s use of water, please visit the USGA Water Resource Center.
  • Is water rationing in place at your location? A plan should be developed for providing adequate moisture levels through this spring to promote turf regionalUpdateContent development.
  • Is golfer education in place regarding the steps that must be taken to handle reduced water applications? Do golfers understand the consequences if the course receives less water?
  • Has a recent irrigation audit been completed for your golf course?
  • Now is a great time to test water quality. Send water samples to a water quality testing laboratory and ask for a water test known as an irrigation suitability test. Ideally, the sample is taken straight from an irrigation head immediately following an irrigation cycle to ensure water is being sampled exactly as the turf receives it.

Considering the water issues we have seen over the last three to four years, a drought-emergency plan is a must for every golf facility. This document allows everyone at the course to be on the same page and better understand what must be done to cope with a limited water supply. The drought-emergency plan should also highlight what is to be expected from varying levels of reduced irrigation.

Invoicing for USGA’s Course Consulting Service (CCS), formerly Turf Advisory Service (TAS), was sent out via email in the Mid-Continent Region. Please advise Karen at or me if you did not receive this information.

If you would like more information regarding a visit from the USGA’s Course Consulting Service, and how we can help your facility with drought, water quality or other management issues, please contact me, Bud White, at (972) 899-2462 or ( Early payment (before May 15) to the USGA can save you $500. For more information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service and to download an application for service, click here.

I look forward to being of service to you and your facility.            

Source: Bud White (

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