Advice Released On How Courses Can Mitigate The UK Drought

The Golf Club Managers Association has teamed up with two strategic partners to issue practical advice

Sprinklers go off in the background whilst a greenkeeper brushes leaves away
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the recent hot, dry weather in the United Kingdom prompting hosepipe bans, the Golf Club Managers Association has teamed up with its strategic partners, Rain Bird and STRI Group, to offer advice on how golf courses can tackle the period of extreme heat.

Unsurprisingly, one of the main concerns is limiting the amount of water used on courses, and the organisations have produced a range of practical advice, including balancing irrigation requirements against the available water supply. To achieve this, they advise keeping a record of irrigation usage, being aware of the temporary restrictions and advisory notices and being careful not to infringe them. Other advice includes prioritising greens and irrigating at the optimal time (usually early in the morning).

The groups also point out that the set-up of sprinklers should be taken into account, and they suggest carrying out visual checks using the acronym H-A-P-N-A: Height, Angle, Pressure, Nozzle and Arc. This means ensuring sprinklers are at the correct height to get the necessary range of throw, that the angle of the rotors are level, that there is sufficient pressure to operate the rotors effectively, that the correct nozzle is being used to achieve the necessary coverage and that the arcs have been adjusted to ensure you’re only irrigating the required area.

As well as advice specific to ensuring water is not wasted, there are more tips on how best to use the course. They include performing spot check moisture readings in the morning and afternoon to know when to apply the correct amount of water. It is also recommended to avoid mowing in temperatures over 30°C, to use the correct turf surfactants (or wetting agents) and moving pin locations to avoid wear on the greens.

The suggestions follow a statement from GCMA chief executive Tom Brooke and BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton addressing the challenges. It said: “We must very carefully consider the ongoing and sustainable management of our golf courses, whilst at the same time focussing on priority playing areas and ensuring that we are not exceeding licenced water usage or infringing on any legally enforced restrictions.” It also urged golf club members and visitors to show consideration when playing surfaces aren’t as green as they are used to seeing, and asked that water usage is limited “as much as is reasonably practical at the current time.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed that climate activists had poured cement into golf holes in France after a water ban exemption as the heat wave extends its grip into mainland Europe.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.