American Golf takes lead on water conservation

American Golf Corp., which manages more than 110 private, resort and daily fee courses in the U.S., has undertaken a proactive effort to conserve thousands of gallons of water on southern California courses by retrofitting sprinklers with efficient metal nozzles.

“We are working with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which is offering rebates to golf courses that switch out plastic nozzles to FCI Profile metal nozzles,” reported Scott Bourgeois, American Golf’s southern California director of maintenance. “At American Golf, we are committed to being good environmental stewards and to finding new ways to reduce water consumption.

“This program is an excellent opportunity to participate in a beneficial partnership with the MWD to help achieve water conservation goals,” he said.

Launched last summer at the Sea Cliff Country Club in Huntington Beach, Calif., the American Golf retrofit replaces factory-installed plastic nozzles with FCI Profile metal nozzles with stainless steel orifices, proven to increase distribution uniformity (DU) and save water.

Manufactured by Underhill International, FCI Profile are the only large turf rotor nozzles approved by the MWD for the rebate program.

The American Golf retrofit is projected to include nearly 20 courses in four southern California counties and encompass more than 20,000 nozzle switch-outs.

“The reason we applied for and participated in the MWD nozzle change-out program was to reduce our water consumption,” said Bourgeois. “Operating as good environmental stewards is very important to American Golf Corp.

“An obvious byproduct of the nozzle change-out program from a customer perspective was to improve turf conditions through water distribution uniformity, which ultimately will improve playing conditions.”

The DU rate indicates whether a sprinkler is delivering uniform irrigation coverage and is typically a barometer of turf condition. A low DU rate indicates that coverage is inconsistent, resulting in dry spots, donuts or over-watered, saturated areas. A high DU rate shows that irrigation application is uniform, resulting in healthier turf and improved appearance. With a higher DU rate, sprinklers can be programmed for shorter run times, saving water and energy.

In an on-site field study conducted by the Center for Irrigation Technology (California State University, Fresno) covering 108 holes (on 6- to 18-hole courses), FCI Profile nozzles reduced water consumption in one season by an average of six percent, and up to 20 percent on some sites.

Golf industry studies have shown that an average six percent water savings can add up to 800,000 to 9,000,000 gallons per course per year, depending on locality and rainfall.

At Sea Cliff, Bourgeois anticipates water savings at a rate of five percent per year, which translates to six to 10 million gallons annually. With nearly 20 American Golf courses scheduled for nozzle retrofits, the water savings is projected to add up to hundreds of millions of gallons per year.

FCI Profile nozzles are approved for rebates in four southern California regions: Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County and southern Ventura County. The nozzles are available from local irrigation distributors that carry Underhill products.

Monday, April 20, 2009

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