Irrigation Management And Water Conservation Efforts In California

By Pat Gross , Southwest Director
July 15, 2010

(L) The use of a portable moisture probe has helped superintendents fine tune irrigation applications to keep the turf healthy without over-applying water. (R) Eliminating irrigation in out of play areas, such as tee banks, helps to conserve water without affecting the playability of the golf course.

Many golf courses throughout California suffered the effects of mandatory water cutbacks in 2009, and the same is true in 2010.  As of June 1st, customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are subject to Phase III water restrictions requiring a mandatory 15% reduction in water use as well as restrictions on days and times that water can be applied.  Variances to the ordinance were granted to golf courses if they agreed to an additional 5% reduction.  Some of the actions taken by golf courses as a result of the water restrictions included:

  • Eliminating irrigation in the rough and practice range facility.
  • Reducing water applications to the fairways.
  • More focus on hand watering isolated dry spots.


Some courses throughout the region have done an exceptional job of improving irrigation efficiency and reducing water use by taking the following actions:

  • Raising and leveling low sprinklers.
  • Performing an irrigation system audit and catch can test to evaluate irrigation coverage.
  • Replacing worn sprinkler nozzles.
  • Programming the system for multiple short cycles of irrigation (cycle/ soak) to prevent irrigation runoff.
  • Regular application of soil wetting agents to improve water penetration.
  • Use of portable moisture sensors and in-ground moisture sensing devices.


So far, there has not been a drastic reduction in the playing quality of golf courses as a result of the cut backs.  Although some golfers react to minor turf discoloration, many appreciate the firmer, faster conditions.

Several golf organizations are actively engaged in water issues throughout California, including the SCGA, NCGA, California Alliance for Golf (CAG), all of the GCSA chapters, University of California Riverside, and the USGA. 

Source: Pat Gross,
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

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™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image