The Dreaded Donut

By Bob Vavrek, senior agronomist, North Central Region
November 14, 2012

Every flaw and shortcoming of an antiquated irrigation system will be magnified tenfold during a lengthy drought. In the absence of rain for six to eight weeks, localized areas of excess coverage overlap will eventually become swamps and dry spots will become as barren as the desert when the irrigation system is the only source of water. Soggy green grass next to the irrigation head surrounded by a zone of dry, brown turf then green grass again is a classic example of sprinkler malfunction, or the dreaded donut. Is it improper water pressure? Is it a worn nozzle?

If you found the dreaded dry donut around fairway sprinklers during this summer’s severe drought then the golf course is past due to have its irrigation system evaluated by an experienced irrigation consultant. Upgrading the irrigation system will help the course use water and electricity more efficiently and who wouldn’t want to conserve two of our most precious recourses? The expertise provided by USGA agronomists and irrigation consultants can help your course provide golfers with firmer and faster playing conditions - often achieving both using less water. You know where to find us at To find local irrigation consultants, see the directory at the American Society of Irrigation Consultants

Source: Bob Vavrek, or 262-797-8743

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The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

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