How Much Water Golf Courses Need

The actual amount of water a golf course needs to sustain healthy turf growth depends on many variables including the species of turf, and the prevailing climate in a given area. Scientific studies have determined that various turfgrasses require a specific percentage of the water that naturally evaporates from the soil and through the plants, also known as evapotranspiration (ETo). This reference number is typically measured by a weather station and models the inches of water that evaporates from a large, deep pan of water that is exposed to environmental conditions. Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue generally require only 80% of the total evaporative demand. Warm-season grasses such as bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, seashore paspalum, and buffalograss use even less at 70% of ETo. Golf courses in cooler climates and high rainfall can use less that 1 acre-foot of water per acre each year. (One acre-foot of water is the amount of water covering a one-acre area - roughly one football field - to a depth of one foot, which is equal to 325,851 gallons.)  Golf courses in hot, dry climates may require as much as 6 acre-feet of water per acre per year.

The following resources provide further details regarding water consumption by golf courses.


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