Garden City Kansas

In dry regions, irrigation is a major issue facing golf courses. Such is the case at the Southwind Country Club, located about 3 km (2 miles) south of Garden City, Kansas, where the supply of irrigation water is limited by water-rights appropriation. The Southwind Country Club includes suburban housing around the golf course (Fig. 19-3). The housing division and golf course each have a high-capacity water well, tapping the High Plains aquifer. In recent years, the golf course has "borrowed" excess water from the housing division. However, the housing division will have little excess water in the near future, as new houses are constructed and water use increases. In an attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of irrigation on the golf course, color-infrared KAP was conducted in late May, 2002 to show cool-season turf at its peak growth stage.

The golf course is constructed on rolling sand hills terrain, and the native vegetation is sand-sage prairie. The irrigated bentgrass (Agrostis palustris) fairways and blue-grass (Poa pratensis) roughs contrast sharply with dry sandsage prairie in color-infrared photographs (Fig. 19-4). The irrigation plan consists of overlapping water circles along the fairways. Color-infrared images demonstrated clearly

FIGURE 19-3 Overview of the Southwind Country Club, near Garden City, Kansas, United States. Suburban housing borders the golf course, upper left and right. View toward north; kite aerial photo by JSA and SWA, May 2002.

FIGURE 19-4 Color-infrared airphoto of the 15th and 17th fairways at Southwind Country Club, near Garden City, Kansas, United States. Bright pink and red indicate photosynthetically active, irrigated vegetation of the golf course. Some irrigation water has enhanced growth of the sand-sage prairie adjacent to the fairways (A). Blue patches in the fairways (B) indicate zones with weak grass. Kite flyers are standing left of scene center. Taken from Aber et al. (2003, fig. 4).

FIGURE 19-4 Color-infrared airphoto of the 15th and 17th fairways at Southwind Country Club, near Garden City, Kansas, United States. Bright pink and red indicate photosynthetically active, irrigated vegetation of the golf course. Some irrigation water has enhanced growth of the sand-sage prairie adjacent to the fairways (A). Blue patches in the fairways (B) indicate zones with weak grass. Kite flyers are standing left of scene center. Taken from Aber et al. (2003, fig. 4).

FIGURE 19-5 Vertical, color-infrared airphoto of test plot on fairway 14, Southwind Country Club, Garden City, Kansas, United States. Large aerial targets are 5 ft x 5 ft (1.5 m x 1.5 m). Small dots indicate grid cells. Pink turf is healthy bentgrass; darker red is encroaching blue/ryegrass mixture (bottom center); gray-white indicates weak or dead turf. Person standing to left. Taken from Aber et al. (2003, fig. 5).

FIGURE 19-5 Vertical, color-infrared airphoto of test plot on fairway 14, Southwind Country Club, Garden City, Kansas, United States. Large aerial targets are 5 ft x 5 ft (1.5 m x 1.5 m). Small dots indicate grid cells. Pink turf is healthy bentgrass; darker red is encroaching blue/ryegrass mixture (bottom center); gray-white indicates weak or dead turf. Person standing to left. Taken from Aber et al. (2003, fig. 5).

that water circles extend beyond the fairways into the adjacent sand-sage prairie in many places. Such knowledge may help golf course managers to situate and operate the irrigation system better in order to conserve water usage.

The bentgrass fairways are susceptible to a condition called "localized dry spot'' wherein the soil surface becomes water repellent. These dry spots leave the turf vulnerable to desiccation in dry winters which often leads to winterkill. A test plot (30 m x 30 m) was established to examine the effectiveness of different soil surfactants designed to alleviate localized dry spots.

FIGURE 19-6 Reclassified image of the vertical color-infrared airphoto showing the 30 m x 30 m test plot, in which bentgrass (gray), blue/ryegrass (black) encroachment, and winterkilled turf (white) are delineated and quantified. Compare with previous figure; taken from Aber et al. (2003, fig. 6).

A vertical color-infrared photograph (Fig. 19-5) of the test plot early in the growing season revealed the degree of winterkill that occurred in the previous winter. It also showed darker-colored turf that is related to the encroachment of mixed bluegrass and ryegrass (Lolium perenne) species. Various combinations of these grasses were over-seeded in past years to provide quick cover following winterkill. Geospatial analysis techniques were applied to quantify the degree of blue/ryegrass encroachment and winterkill (Fig. 19-6). The analysis of the study plot showed that 86% was bentgrass, 11% was a blue/ryegrass combination, and 3% was winterkilled.

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