Ivanhoe Club is a 27-hole golf facility located in a housing community outside of Chicago. As part of the original development plan, the golf course uses the community’s residential wastewater as its primary irrigation source. The recycled water is naturally high in bicarbonates and salts, both of which can be damaging to turf in high concentrations.
Using recycled water for golf course irrigation requires care and planning. Firm conditions are expected on a daily basis at Ivanhoe, so limited amounts of water are applied to the greens, tees and fairways. Nevertheless, steps must be taken to manage any accumulation of bicarbonates and salts to avoid turf damage. Superintendent Tom Prichard chooses to vent the greens twice per month and vent any greens in difficult growing environments on a weekly basis. In addition, wetting agents are applied to help flush the soil profile of salts when there is a rain event. The Chicago area annually receives about 40 inches of rain so there usually are plenty of opportunities to flush the soil.
Water is becoming an increasingly scarce and expensive commodity for golf courses throughout the country. An abundant supply of recycled water is a valuable resource for Ivanhoe, especially during dry periods. The only challenge is finding opportunities to vent the playing surfaces and apply the necessary wetting agents before turf issues arise. These activities are typically scheduled for Mondays when the staff often has to work around golf outings. Nonetheless, the benefit of having the recycled water supply makes managing these challenges very worthwhile because Ivanhoe is well positioned to handle any future challenges with water availability.