Golf is one of the largest sports in Sweden when it comes to practitioners: 484 514 unique golf players. The amount corresponds to 4,5 percent of the Swedish population and almost every 20th swede. The increasing number of golf players puts pressure on the quality of the courses and longer playing seasons. It also puts pressure on refining the courses, not only during the season, but also before and after the season in order for the courses to reach optimal quality.
The golf course is the single most important part of a resort. A normal golf course with 18 holes covers approximately 50-100 hectares, where approximately one hectare constitutes of greens.
The greens are sensitive, and the golf course’s most important part, making them the most care-intense areas when it comes to maintenance. Before they are playable, they must be scarified, fertilized, if needed auxiliary seed, watered and cut. Some golf courses work with covering cloths or tarpaulins in order to increase the temperature in the ground, accelerating the soil’s biological processes.
The grass’ condition is largely impacted by moisture levels, and different grasses consume different amounts of water. In addition, greens are specifically sensitive for salinity, where in some cases, it has caused severe damage to the grass.
It takes a lot of knowledge and sense for a greenkeeper to adjust watering for successful maintenance. A decisive factor in the amount of water to be added to greens, is knowledge of how much water that a grassy area in good growth consumes. But how to know that?
A practical solution
Falsterbo GK, located in Falsterbo, southern Sweden, was founded in 1909 and is therefore the third oldest golf club in Sweden. The golf club has hosted international events such as the Swedish PGA championships within the framework for European Tour’s Challenge Tour. According to Golf World Europe, Falsterbo GK is ranked as 4th best club in Scandinavia and as the 27th best golf club in Continental Europe.
The challenging 18-hole course is classified as a True Links course, with demanding requirements on maintenance work and standards of grass. What sets this golf club apart further is that it offers playing all year round, requiring even higher efforts to maintain the high quality of tees, fairways, ruffs and greens. When seasons changes, so does the grass’ needs.
Sensative, in cooperation with partner Sensefarm, has provided Falsterbo GK with an IoT solution that will make irrigation more streamlined and caretaking of greens more efficient throughout the year.
Sensefarm’s sensors are placed on greens, measuring moisture in the ground and providing data, making it possible to adjust and decrease water consumption, reduce workload and keep the greens in continuous mint condition.
One sensor is placed on the 10th green.
During the Fall 2020, another green will be provided with a sensor to collect data, before the full roll-out of the other 16 sensors which is planned for winter season 2020/21.
At the 10th green, the sensor measures moisture and temperature. In the future salt levels are to be included in the measurements in order to detect and prevent any potential harm.
The technical part
The IoT connectivity net for collecting data is built with the standard LoRaWAN, already today supported by thousands of companies and opens up for a variety of digital sensors services at the golf club.
A cloud-based service gathers the sensors’ data and gives an overview as well as detailed information of moisture levels and temperatures on the course, to tell how much water is consumed and needed during different periods. In addition, weather can be predicted.
Sensative also offers a whole set up, where buildings can be connected to prevent water leaks, adjust temperature in premises, monitor access and increase safety at the resort.
Some finishing words
This year’s golf season started off record early, due to warm weather. As many people are working from home this spring, they might also have a shorter takeoff to get themselves out for a premier round, and golf clubs will want to seize the players.
By incorporating IoT solutions, golf clubs will be able to deliver superb golfing experiences, whenever the season starts or finishes, as the greens will be of top quality. At the same time, greenkeepers’ work is facilitated while golf clubs’ finances can improve as water consumption is adjusted to optimal amounts.