Relationship between distribution uniformity and soil moisture content


Tests on a sand-based green suggest that soil moisture measurements and hand watering are critical to mitigating localized dry spot.

Providing a putting surface with uniform playing conditions and aesthetics is a critical component to successful golf course management. A condition that regularly disrupts putting green uniformity is localized drying or localized dry spot (also known as LDS) (3). A major factor that contributes to localized dry spot is variation in irrigation distribution (5). Industry standards suggest a minimum distribution uniformity of 70% or better (1), but changes in water pressure and fow rate, wind and irrigation equipment wear can greatly reduce this uniformity (2). Although uniform irrigation is a critical component to maintaining a uniform putting surface, other variables such as variations in surface slope, traffc, shade and organic matter accumulations have been cited as contributors to localized drying. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the distribution uniformity of a putting green and then to assess correlations between differences in irrigation distribution uniformity and the soil wetting and drying cycle of a sand-based putting green. Exploring these correlations will help further explain the localized drying often observed on putting surfaces with relatively uniform irrigation. The hypothesis of this research is that irrigation distribution uniformity is weakly correlated to soil-moisture wetting and drying cycles because variability in surface conditions (that is, surface slope, traffc, organic matter, etc.) contribute substantially to variability in soil moisture.

This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Golf Course Management magazine.

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