How Much Water Does a Golf Course Need?
The actual amount of water a golf course needs to sustain
healthy turf growth depends on many variables including the species of turf,
and the prevailing climate in a given area. Scientific studies have determined
that various turfgrasses require a specific percentage of the water that
naturally evaporates from the soil and through the plants, also known as
evapotranspiration (ETo). This reference number is typically measured by a weather
station and models the inches of water that evaporates from a large, deep pan
of water that is exposed to environmental conditions. Cool season grasses, such
as Kentucky bluegrass, creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue
generally require only 80% of the total evaporative demand. Warm season grasses
such as bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, seashore paspalum, and buffalograss use even
less at 70% of ETo. Golf courses in cooler climates and high rainfall can use
less that 1 acre-foot of water per acre each year. (One acre-foot of water is
the amount of water covering a one-acre area - roughly one football field - to
a depth of one foot, which is equal to 325,851 gallons.) Golf courses in hot, dry climates may require
as much as 6 acre-feet of water per acre per year.
The following resources provide further details regarding
water consumption by golf courses.