Original Golfdom Article
Drones, data and turf maintenance
The old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a refrain to which golf course superintendents subscribe. Photographs help turfgrass managers explain agronomic and maintenance programs to members and sell renovation and capital improvement projects to boards of directors. A smartphone snapshot now is a powerful and ubiquitous communication tool of the trade.
The data that drones give superintendents like Prieur is limitless, thanks to innovative companies moving the technology forward. One such company, GreenSight Agronomics, provides drone-enabled golf course services that give superintendents valuable information to help them manage their staff more effectively, reduce water usage, optimize fertilizer use and avoid costly pest or fungal damage while maximizing a course’s quality and playability.
Trial by the Pacific Ocean
Paul Robertson is one of GreenSight’s first superintendent customers, and he currently is beta testing their product. The links superintendent at Victoria Golf Club in Oak Bay, British Columbia, Robertson gives credit to his assistant, who first saw mention of the technology on Twitter. Robertson immediately contacted GreenSight to ask how his club could get involved in using its equipment.
“I really believed in the technology,” he explains. “They were good to commit to us being one of the first test sites. The rest is history.”
After one month into their trial, Robertson and his staff already are reaping benefits from the wealth of data provided by the drone. “The main reason we wanted to use this technology was to get a better idea on water management,” he says. “I can already see other (uses) for it. You can take the infrared images and eventually we can add a temperature camera that will allow us to collate that data into some sort of soil moisture amount. Over time, we can take what we see in infrared and transfer that into percent soil moisture so we can eliminate or reduce the need for people out on the course with hand-held devices collecting soil moisture data.”
Read the full Golfdom article here.