Not Your Typical Budget December 15, 2017 By Chris Hartwiger, director, Course Consulting Service

A water budget tailored for your golf course provides valuable information that can be used in many ways.

Let's go back to the day when your golf course was applying for the necessary permits to be constructed. A municipal official approaches you and says, “Everything looks good. There's only one piece of information you are lacking. We need an estimate of how much irrigation water you will use in a year with average rainfall.” What would you say? How would you develop this estimate? What you need is a water budget.

Developing a water budget is more than an academic exercise to answer these hypothetical questions. A water budget is a valuable tool that every golf course should have because it offers numerous practical applications for a golf course superintendent. A water budget provides:

  • A key part of a drought management plan
  • An effective tool for communicating with golfers, course officials and water regulators
  • An easy way to compare expected water use with actual water use
  • Insight into fine tuning a water management strategy

Creating a water budget for your facility need not be difficult. The USGA article, “How to Develop a Water Budget for Your Golf Course,” explains in great detail how to create and use a water budget. The USGA also has other resources to help you create a water budget, including the USGA Water Resource Center that hosts a downloadable drought emergency plan spreadsheet and a step-by-step instructional video.

Hopefully, you will take the time to develop a water budget for 2018. As always, USGA Agronomists are available to assist you in this process.


Southeast Region Agronomists:

Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service –

Steve Kammerer, regional director –

Patrick M. O’Brien, agronomist –

Todd Lowe, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff